After two Juve youth products decided the Turin Derby, Susy Campanale sees the academies doing more for Serie A.
The ‘Stile Juventus’ could not have been more evident in the Derby della Mole victory, as the goalscorers were Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco – both born, bred and raised in the city. They are a great sign of where Italian football ought to be going, especially in its current economic crisis, and represent only the tip of the iceberg.
Marchisio and Giovinco are in their mid-20s now and needed a particular set of circumstances to become Juventus first team regulars. The midfielder first really broke into the line-up during the season in Serie B at the age of 20, as perhaps he would’ve been loaned out like Giovinco was to gain experience if the squad had not been dealing with such a massive sea-change. That was back in 2006, but now Serie A is changing and we may well have something to thank the financial crisis for.
“I doubt I would’ve had so many opportunities to play and improve if Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were still at Milan,” confessed Stephan El Shaarawy. What a terrible shame it would’ve been to delay the progress of an immensely-talented and mature 20-year-old, who was raised in the Genoa ranks. It was always said in Italian media that there was the risk of ‘burning up’ a young player, but there are now numerous examples of prodigious Under-21s who were thrown in at the deep end and did not drown.
Mattia De Sciglio is only 20 years old as well, but already looks like the most reliable figure in the Milan back four. He is Milanese and Milanista, an increasingly rare jewel in the San Siro side. When was the last great defender to come through the Rossoneri ranks? Probably Paolo Maldini. Maybe having a skint President Silvio Berlusconi could remind the club that the youth academy is there for a reason and not just to raise funds for high-earning foreign imports.
Walter Mazzarri was the biggest culprit of refusing to give young players a chance, feeling they would get torn apart by the demanding supporters and media in Naples. If it weren’t for suspensions and Goran Pandev’s injury problems, would 21-year-old Lorenzo Insigne have been allowed to make such an impact at the San Paolo, his hometown club? It’s doubtful. Now if only Mazzarri could look inside the academy for talents in other areas of the squad too. There has to be a better defender in there than Salvatore Aronica...
Roma are ahead of the curve in this respect and deserve credit. Where Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi came first, we now have 21-year-old Alessandro Florenzi, who has already broken into the Italy senior squad. By following this example, and if the Financial Fair Play rule ever gets teeth, Italian football can truly flourish like a phoenix from the flames of the economic boom and bust.