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Friday May 9 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Verratti

While seen as heir apparent to Andrea Pirlo, Marco Verratti isn't assured a place in Brazil. Luca Cetta assesses his chance of learning from the master this June.

Scanning Cesare Prandelli’s 42-man squad for the recent Coverciano tests would have led to raised eyebrows at the sight of Federico Bernardeschi’s name. The 20-year-old is seen as a player for the future, similar to two years ago when Italy convened at Coverciano in preparation for Euro 2012 with Marco Verratti in tow.

Bernardeschi is not expected to travel to Brazil, just as Verratti didn’t go to Poland and Ukraine. Yet since a breakthrough 2011-12 campaign at Pescara and Prandelli’s call, Verratti has enjoyed an upward trajectory.

Juventus and Napoli battled for the talented midfielder’s services, but in the end Paris Saint-Germain signed the prodigious then 19-year-old. Verratti was one of the stars in Zdenek Zeman’s championship winning Delfini squad, acting as a deep-lying playmaker. So impressed, PSG offered €12m. He may have skipped Serie A, but Verratti was shot straight into regular Ligue 1 and Champions League action.

Verratti is also viewed as the heir to Andrea Pirlo’s Nazionale throne. The Juve man is set to retire from international football after Brazil and his replacement is seemingly under Prandelli’s nose.

The young regista has been part of the Azzurri setup for two years, but has played just four times. All friendlies. The opponents weren’t slouches, including the likes of England, France, the Netherlands – where he grabbed his maiden goal – and Argentina. But he’s itching to make a greater impact.

So, how integral is he to Prandelli? When Pirlo started on the bench against Spain in March, rather than Verratti, club teammate Thiago Motta was called for action. When Prandelli turned to his substitutes at half-time he summoned Pirlo, but not the rising star. Verratti may be a regular for Laurent Blanc, but he hasn’t been able to fully convince Prandelli – even if the boss has praised the player publicly. Verratti wasn’t able to be selected for Coverciano but in all likelihood would have been.

Verratti’s strength is in possession. He does not shirk from taking responsibility on the ball and can produce moments of magic. Verratti is clean on the ball, enjoying a 92 per cent pass success rate this term in all competitions.

The worry is that he can be too casual and not always aware of his surroundings. When better to clear or pass he can be guilty of taking another touch. Nor is discipline a strong point. Verratti is one of three players to have picked up 10 bookings this term, a League high.

Brazil represents his last chance to learn from the master. If Verratti is to be a key player in a Pirlo-less team, World Cup 2014 presents an opportunity to gain valuable experience from The Architect on a daily basis. He’s battling for a place in what is a packed and talented midfield, with Motta, Riccardo Montolivo and Claudio Marchisio also gunning for a starting spot.

Like others just past their 21st birthday, Verratti is still learning. However, there’s no denying his raw talent and ability which could strengthen Italy in Brail and beyond.

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Have your say...
Anyone know what number veratti will wear for the world cup?
on the 1st June, 2014 at 9:15pm
Verratti is a must not justforthe list of 23, but even for the 11 starting the matches.

Buffon

DeSciglio-Barzagli(Paletta)-Bonucci-Chiellini

Pirlo-DeRossi-Verratti

Cerci-Balotelli(Rossi)-Insigne
on the 16th May, 2014 at 10:24am
He may not be ready to start yet but he has to go with the squad.
on the 12th May, 2014 at 7:40pm
Cigarini is the Heir to our Pirlo, not Verratti. Verratti should play behind the two strikers (Cerci & Rossi), helping out Pirlo and De Rossi. Cigarini must then come on in the 2nd half for Pirlo and gain his experience. But alas, Prandelli is a pantomime like his pet puppy, Mario.
on the 11th May, 2014 at 8:19pm
TNeeds to start scoring now and again to really mAke a difference
on the 10th May, 2014 at 9:47pm
Great prospect...but is he ready? I think, not quite. He had shocker performances vs Chelsea in the CL. Still needs to grow...one for the next Euros possibly?
on the 10th May, 2014 at 6:04pm
Looked immense for me in the u21 euro's. Looked head and shoulders abover everyone else in the games i saw. When he played against chelsea in the CLQF he looked very classy. I think prandelli will be an idiot if he didn't take him
on the 10th May, 2014 at 5:01pm
CP please don't waste a place on Monti - leave him at home he offers nothing
on the 10th May, 2014 at 12:22pm
Daniel I like Verratti but for me he hasn't gone to the next level. In cm we have Pirlo, Dr Rossi, montolivo & marchisio, personally he has not done enough to dislodge these guys. That leaves for me him fighting with motta & parolo for a place. Think motta is our best holding player and if de Rossi has to go in defence gives us options. I think Parolo then offers something significantly different to verratti and the other midfielders real drive and goals. If we were taking 25 players he'd be 24
on the 10th May, 2014 at 8:40am
Leave Monti at home!!!
on the 10th May, 2014 at 7:48am
he must go.he is verry talented player.the real heir of pirlo.motta&verratti should start.
on the 10th May, 2014 at 3:49am
Great to see I'm not the only one who rates this player so highly. I simply can not see how Prandelli can't start him, besides all Veratti's performances in Ligue 1 and CL, Prandelli will see him in training in the Italy camp (if selected) and I just can't see how he won't be impressed!! He's world class, already, and I honestly am not exaggerating when I say Italy could win the World Cup if they start him and Pirlo... You can't lose with 2 Pirlos!!
on the 10th May, 2014 at 1:52am
@MoE, Florenzi is 23! I wouldn't say that is too young. If he was 17, then fair enough. @Adrian, Verratti went into the U21 tournament not fully fit. The 442 system that Italy used also did him no favours. Like Pirlo, I would only play him in a central midfield trio. He isn't a great athlete, neither is he good at defending, so you need that extra man to compensate for him. PSG do this with Motta & Matuidi.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 8:01pm
Unfortunately i think there are too many more reliable and quality players ahead of him. I like him but in the euroU21's last year felt he never took a game by the scruff of the neck. He has a good season but to get into the squad had to really stamp his authority in Ligue 1 - there has been talent on show but not enough with the quality have in midfield. Marchisio and Montolivo, while neither being an out replacement for Pirlo have enough quality to give Pirlo a rest here and there.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:07pm
Yes 100%! I still think that he could even play alongside Pirlo in a diamond system. He has the composure, footwork, vision, & passing skills to play in behind two forwards. Ball retention will be crucial next month & along with Pirlo, Cassano, & Immobile; Verratti is the best at keeping it. He could be a real star for us!
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:02pm
I think he should go to Brazil as long as the manager can make him understand that he cannot take as much time as he sometimes does on the ball. Also, he must learn to avoid the ref's notebook. Other than that, he should be on the plane, but probably not start.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 5:18pm
I think prandelli will prefer parolo to him, or an attacking midfielder like florenzi or diamanti, but it would be a shame to leave verratti at home and i also think he can play as a trequartista too.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:43pm
Verratti has to be included in Prandelli's squad, especially since this is Pirlo's last tournament and he has much to learn from The Architect.

Buffon, Sirigu, Perin;
Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, Paletta;
De Sciglio, Abate, Maggio, Criscito;
Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo, Verratti;
Cerci, Insigne, Candreva;
Balotelli, Rossi, Cassano, Immobile.

(reserves) Marchetti, Ogbonna, Pasqual, Motta, Giaccherini, Diamanti, Destro
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:35pm
Verratti has to be included in Prandelli's squad, especially since this is Pirlo's last tournament and he has much to learn from The Architect.

Buffon, Sirigu, Perin;
Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, Paletta;
De Sciglio, Abate, Maggio, Criscito;
Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo, Verratti;
Cerci, Insigne, Candreva;
Balotelli, Rossi, Cassano, Immobile.

(reserves) Marchetti, Ogbonna, Pasqual, Motta, Giaccherini, Diamanti, Destro
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:34pm
Great player. Disgrace that he hasnt been used more over the last 2 years.
Must go. Must start.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:33pm
I don't think Prandelli will take him. The final eight will probably be…

Pirlo
De Rossi
Marchisio
Candreva
Montolivo
Motta
Parolo
Romulo

Diamanti is out due to his stupid move to China. Florenzi is too young and inexperienced. I thought Veratti would make it but Prandelli's comments recently about his ability to not play in a x-mas tree formation was damning. Aquilani will miss out for the better Parolo. Giaccherini out due to more versatile Romulo who can play in both D and M.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:28pm
Panders would be mad not to have him in the squad. For me, he should be in the starting 11 with De Rossi and Pirlo. Despite all his talent, Pirlo is not a stranger to losing the ball whilst looking for a killer pass! So I see no reason not to include. Verrati is combative, has a good engine, he is tactically aware and has real vision. De Rossi, Pirlo and Verrati would give brilliant service to the forwards.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:23pm
Verratti deserves to be in the 23 man squad. He would certainly benefit from tournament experience by shadowing Pirlo at what might be his last major international tournament.

Buffon, Sirigu, Perin;
Chiellini, Barzagli, Paletta, Bonucci;
De Sciglio, Abate, Maggio, Criscito;
Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo, Verratti;
Cerci, Candreva, Insigne;
Balotelli, Rossi, Cassano, Immobile.

(reserves) Marchetti, Ogbonna, Pasqual, Motta, Giaccherini, Diamanti, Destro
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:20pm
Not only should he be in the squad, but he should start alongside Pirlo. What's the problem?

It would be nice to see an Italian coach show less fear and do something like this. In a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 he can be a starter for sure.

VERRATTI - PIRLO - DE ROSSI
candreva - montolivo - motta - marchisio/florenzi
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:05pm
Almost as obvious as Pirlo. Def should start.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 3:56pm

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