When Italy’s 23 man squad was announced on Sunday, Mattia Perin would have been relieved but perhaps not surprised about his inclusion. The young Genoa goalkeeper has had another good season and has done himself no harm for club or country this year. Perin can now go to the World Cup in Brazil expecting that it will be his first of many.
The Latina born shot stopper has progressed at an impressive rate for a man of just 21 years of age. After joining Genoa’s youth set-up in 2008, Perin’s quality was evident and he was loaned out early, first to Padova and then to Pescara.
He caught the eye in his time with the Delfini even as they endured a difficult time in Serie A, eventually being relegated. The top-flight experience proved vital for Perin as he continued to face barrage after barrage week in week out. He performed so well he dislodged veteran custodian Ivan Pelizzoli and eventually played a majority of the matches, missing just 10.
Now at the end of a full season back at Genoa between the sticks, the whole of Serie A has started to notice the promise in this young ‘keeper and admire his qualities. His handling on crosses is very assured for a young man and is enhanced by his incredible spring from a standing start. It is perhaps this that is his biggest asset, with the 6ft 2inch stopper regularly seen using this to make excellent claims on balls put into the box. For his exuberance, decision making still has improve no end and he is gradually becoming slightly less spectacular, thanks to the aforementioned improved thought process.
Perin like any other ‘keeper has made the odd error but they are few and far between - his speed and agility has also allowed him to cover up one or two also, but what goalkeeper does not live a little on the edge? His distribution is very solid and he also has a knack for saving the odd penalty also.
It is this culmination of talents that saw him keep 11 clean sheets in 37 starts for Genoa last season, the fifth highest total in the Division and a more remarkable achievement when noting not only his age but also the lacklustre Genoese defence that sits in front of him.
There is no doubt that Gianluigi Buffon will start in Brazil and that Perin is only attending as third choice. The road will be long for him but his undoubted ability and the fact is that he has fought off some superb competition from Francesco Bardi and Simone Scuffet. He is now officially Italy’s bright young thing and this can only be to his benefit.
Buffon will almost certainly not be at the 2018 World Cup and with Perin’s level of improvement from year to year, it would be a brave man to bet against him not being the next in line for the foreseeable future.