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Tuesday April 8 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Scuffet

Is Simone Scuffet a genuine contender to make Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup squad? Luca Persico considers the 17-year-old’s rise.

As Udinese warmed up to face Bologna in the shadow of the tower at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, it emerged that the Zabrette’s first choice goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic had a problem. Coach Francesco Guidolin was forced to make a change on the cusp of a pivotal contest.

Udinese had lost four matches in a row and risked being dragged into a relegation battle. The obvious choice seemed to be Croatian Ivan Kelava. The 26-year-old was signed as cover for Brkic and though a little sluggish, had proven reasonably reliable.

Guidolin, however, looked elsewhere, turning to 17 year-old Simone Scuffet. It was a bold move, made ‘within five seconds’ according to the tactician, but one that was ultimately justified, as Udinese won 2-0.

Scuffet faced just one shot on target that day, but has subsequently proven himself more than capable when put under greater scrutiny. Since his debut, the stopper has gone on to keep four clean sheets in 13 appearances. A mistake at Atalanta aside, he has been almost faultless and is becoming indispensable.

Guidolin describes the stopper as ‘calm and collected’, while Scuffet insists: “my family taught me you need to be humble and dedicated to your work.” 

Those qualities shone through with his standout performance in Udinese’s 0-0 draw at San Siro against Inter, whilst he also made notable saves in a 1-0 win over their city rivals Milan. Scuffet’s performances have also unsurprisingly drawn admirers. Sporting director Cristiano Giaretta insists ‘he will not be moving’ this summer, whilst the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Roma are believed to have taken an interest - as has Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli.

Just 39 days after making his Serie A debut, Scuffet found himself in Rome as part of a group of Italians called together for a pre-World Cup training camp. He spent three days working alongside fellow stoppers Francesco Bardi, Nicola Leali, Antonio Mirante and Mattia Perin, as Prandelli took an opportunity to assess the Azzurri’s future options close up.

Scuffet’s inclusion for the coming World Cup is an argument becoming more convincing. Gianluigi Buffon and Salvatore Sirigu are seemingly certain of their places, but a third goalkeeper is required. Federico Marchetti, the initial favourite, is struggling for form. Morgan De Sanctis, who retired in 2012, has been suggested, but Prandelli is increasingly likely to look elsewhere. In Bardi, Perin and Scuffet, he has three promising goalkeepers who have been regulars in Serie A this season to consider.

If not Marchetti or De Sanctis, taking one of the aforementioned trio makes more sense than the likes of Mirante, who is equally inexperienced at international level and too old to benefit from the experience.

Coming into the season, Bardi, after impressing with the Under-21s, was perhaps head of the queue, but Scuffet’s emergence has altered the landscape. Of the three, he has the least experience, but is arguably the most mature. His desire to do ‘the simple things and run as few risks as possible’ highlights as much.

Such an attitude will not be lost on Prandelli as he considers his options. The experience would be invaluable to Scuffet, who is still in school, but there is also an outside chance he would have to play. Whether Prandelli believes such an outcome is more likely to make or break the youngster will forge his decision.

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Have your say...
Anybody who Prandelli selects to acompany the team and who he intends not to play them should be players for the future. On important selection sould be Scuffet. As well wuld love to see Imobil, Cerci,ZAZA, Baselli, Parolo and Bardi accompany the team.
on the 30th April, 2014 at 5:16pm
Buffon (Sirigu, Scuffet)

Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini
(Palotta-Ranocchia-Criscito)

Candreva-DeRossi-Pirlo-Verratti-DeSciglio
(Abate-Montolivo-Cassano-Marchisio-Giaccherini)

Cerci-Balotelli
(Destro-Immobile)
on the 9th April, 2014 at 4:52pm
I would take De Sanctis ask him to unretire- he has been absolutely incredible this year
on the 9th April, 2014 at 4:42pm
Marchetti will prob be 3rd choice, perin and scuffed for the euros with Gigi
on the 8th April, 2014 at 7:41pm
He should go as the number 3, his performances this season deserves it. It will be very unlikely that'll he'll or any no.3 will play but given his age and ability the tournament experience will benefit him and Italy immensely going forward.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 6:31pm
To inexpe8rienced...
on the 8th April, 2014 at 3:40pm
GK Buffon Scuffet or sirgu

DF chielini Bagzarli Bonuci Palleta de sclingo Abate
Cricito

MF Pirlo Montolivo De Rossi diamanti parolo

FW Balloteli Imoble Rossi Candreva Insinge Cerci Toti

2 Milan defenders in the same team would be an advantage that's why no Maggio and yes I know 2 goal keepers big deal
on the 8th April, 2014 at 3:10pm
He is a fantastic keeper with a big future. For me the 3rd spot is between Perin and Scuffet. Not an easy choice to make. The experience would be great for Scuffet, if he continues as he has been come euro 2016 he could be 1st choice keeper.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 12:39pm

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