Has the Italian League increased its otherwise perceived lack of faith in younger players? One report in Italy argues not quite.
The issue of Serie A sides showing confidence in youth products by giving them extended runs in their first teams has been long discussed.
Since taking over as Coach of the Italy Under-21 team, Ciro Ferrara has more than once lamented that most of his players are Serie B-based, whilst Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has recently been critical of his own team’s lack of faith in its younger squad members.
Tuttomercatoweb have published some research into this season’s use of players born after 1990. Roma’s deliberate focus on integrating youth into their team sees them take the lead statistically, having given playing time to seven youngsters this season, from signings Erik Lamela and Miralem Pjanic through to youth team products Giammarco Piscitella and Federico Viviani.
Meanwhile, Palermo, Fiorentina, Bologna and Udinese have all fielded five youngsters in first XIs across the first 31 rounds of the League campaign.
At the other end of the spectrum, a number of clubs, from Chievo, Siena, Parma and Novara to Lazio and Juventus, have only fielded one youngster each this term. Meanwhile, De Laurentiis’ Napoli sit alongside Catania as the only two teams to so far have not fielded anyone born from 1990 onwards.