As club football at winds up in Italy, we look back at some of the best young players that have stood out this season. Amongst the many that have impressed, we pick out league’s XI best young performers to create the U-22 Serie A Team of the Year. You can read this to know more about Talent Radar to see who is eligible for this player tracking feature.
Mattia Perin // Genoa // Italy // 22
Mattia Perin is one among the few top quality young goalkeepers out there that have been given the chance to grow as a player despite his age. Perin has been instrumental in Genoa’s season this year, with 32 league appearances for the Italian outfit so far. More of an instinct based keeper, Perin has time on his side to improve on various other aspects of his game such as distribution and aerial prowess. The 22 year old Italian’s performances and promise has resulted in several clubs across Europe keen to get his signature early.
Silvan Widmer // Udinese // Switzerland // 22
The 22 year old right back has been ever-present for Udinese this season, balancing out his offensive and defensive duties in a mature fashion. Widmer has chipped in with 2 goals and 7 assists this season which is fairly good for a club that swam around the relegation zone but to individually assess the 22 year old, the Swiss international has a bit to work on. With rumours having that his contract talks have hit roadblocks, many clubs will be on the look out for him given the promise he has shown this past season.
Daniele Rugani // Empoli (on loan from Juventus) // Italy // 20
Another of Juventus’ loaned out players who have performed in the Serie A this season, Daniele Rugani is one of the few Empoli players who can call it a good season personally. The 20 year old has earned himself priceless experience at the club, playing almost every game of their campaign. Rugani has shown that he is capable of playing amongst the best and while definitely not a finished product, the Italian has time on his side to iron out the finer details of quality Italian standard defending.
Alessio Romagnoli // Sampdoria (on loan from Roma) // Italy // 20
Alessio Romagnoli has been a common figure in Sampdoria’s past season, featuring just shy of 30 times for the Genoa based club. Like many of the defenders on our Talent Radar feauter, Romagnoli is another who has shown definite signs that he can be an quality defender but isn’t there at the moment. His displays over the course of the season have showed that he is more than willing to get into a tackle to win the ball back but more importantly, is capable of positioning himself to block a shot rather than make a rash tackle. Still young, he has plenty of time to develop and with a connection with a big Italian club already in place, it’s only a matter of time for the 20 year old to steadily make his way up.
Elseid Hysaj // Empoli // Albania // 21
Recently, Paolo Maldini said that full backs these days are judged on what they do with the ball, rather than without the ball in a defensive sense. Hysaj is a hark back to the days of the likes of Maldini. A full back who is very tough, and quite sound defensively, Hysaj is a player who can be relied on shore up his side. He’s quite versatile too, capable of playing effectively as both a left back, and a right back. He’s a fairly decent technician too, with a good pass completion rate, and even 2 assists in the league.
Mateo Kovacic // Inter // Croatia // 21
Kovacic is one of the better midfielders in Serie A, despite his age. Inter fans have a lot of hopes for this Croatian midfielder, and he certainly has the talent to live up to the hype. Kovacic is a player with a very strong technique, and he earns his plaudits with his work on the ball. His flair and skill have seen Mancini rotate him, often away from his preferred spot in the middle of the park. His performances have still kept up to the mark though, and he managed 5 goals and 2 assists this past season. His dribbling, often considered his finest skill, has been top notch, and he’s averaged about 2.6 dribbles per game.
Paul Pogba // Juventus // France // 22
Pogba is already thought of as one of the best midfielders in the world, and has widely been linked with a move to a club like Barcelona, Real, City, or Chelsea in the coming summer. The fact that he’s still just 22 makes it even more impressive. Pogba is a player who’s an all rounder. He can pass, shoot, tackle, run, dribble, get involved in physcialy battles, and probably even drive the team bus and mix everyone’s drink while he’s at it. Despite an injury hit season, Pogba has notched up 8 goals and 2 assists from midfield. The young Frenchman has been a big contributor in Juve’s run to the Champions League final as well, with a good performance against the defending champions, Real Madrid in the second leg proving crucial. Pogba has a big game, and a big summer coming up. For is sake, let’s hope he makes the most of it.
Felipe Anderson // Lazio // Brazil // 22
Much like his team Lazio, Felipe Anderson has been a breath of fresh air in the Serie A this season. The capital club are currently in third, and should stay there to qualify for the Champions League. This will be a just reward for some great performances by a lot of players, and the manager. Anderson himself has been the star of an over-performing side, with 10 goals and 7 assists in just 22 starts. The Brazilian has been deployed all across the opposition third, and has proven to be a threat regardless of his starting position. There isn’t much to dislike about a player like him, who can really entertain fans with his dribbling as well. Here’s hoping he can set the European stage alight too next season.
Domenico Berardi // Sassuolo (on loan from Juventus) // Italy // 20
Milan’s kryptonite has our Tweeter feed would rightly call him a week ago, Domenico Berardi seems like the start of the next wave of Italian forwards. Playing 31 games this season in the league, Berardi has helped Sassuolo with 14 goals and 9 assists, which, in terms of ratios, has produced results consistently throughout the season when fielded. The 20 year old has shown signs of being a quality striker with some excellent finishing seen over the season and with time on his side, he could definitely evolve into something more grand. Another of Juventus’ loaned out players, Berardi will hope to make his big club connection click.
Mauro Icardi // Inter Milan // Argentina // 22
Inter Milan fans will look back at this past season with mixed feelings but one thing they can certainly feel glad about is how well Mauro Icardi has performed. Despite the surrounding players not playing up to the mark, Icardi was in no mood to slack off and has been evidently ruthless in front of goal with 25 goals and 6 assists across all competitions this season. Fitting the bill of another young Argentine forward (second on this list) who has done well for himself this season, much will be expected from the controversial youngster who has already proven his abilities.
Paulo Dybala // Palermo // Argentina // 21
The youngster has had quite the season for Palermo this past year and it’s no wonder why plenty of big clubs across Europe were after his signature in the recent few months. 13 goals and 10 assists this season, Dybala has contributed to over 40% of Palermo’s goals in the Serie A this season. The 21 year old has been a pleasure to watch this season, with many able to notice that his style of play is versatile enough to suit the way a variety of teams play. Dybala is yet another young forward from Argentina who seems to be having a jolly time at the moment.