Danilo D’Ambrosio has been a revelation for Torino so far this season. Here, former Football Italia assistant editor and Granata aficionado Peter Bourne tells us more…
How good is D'Ambrosio?
D'Ambrosio is a very good prospect. We signed him about four years ago from Juve Stabia and he immediately looked the part. He then had a very poor second season – the year before Giampiero Ventura took over – but the team was not that great as a whole. Since the arrival of Ventura he has been very consistent.
He’s quite versatile isn’t he?
He's naturally a right-back or a right wing-back, but since another good prospect in Matteo Darmian usually plays there, D'Ambrosio has been shifted all over the team. Right wing, central midfield, but largely he has filled the gaping hole at left-back and has started every game there this season.
What are his strengths as a player?
He's good in the air, technically sound, has a turn of pace and eye for goal. Also, playing on the left side allows him to cut inside.
How important has been the switch to 3-5-2 for D'Ambrosio?
The 3-5-2 probably suits D'Ambrosio's attacking instincts more than 4-4-2. Having less of a defensive responsibility has provided him with greater opportunities to break forward. His timing is very good, especially at meeting back post deliveries. In the 4-4-2 formation and playing behind Alessio Cerci, he had to cover more defensive ground although the two link up very well.
There's talk of an Italy call-up. How would he do at that level?
Although he still lacks some experience at the highest level possibly with regard to defensive positional play, D'Ambrosio has nothing to envy in terms of Italy's current crop of wing-backs. Compared to say Ignazio Abate, who enjoyed a year in Turin a few seasons ago, D'Ambrosio is the more rounded player. At international level though he would need to play on the right side. On the left his tendency to cut in rather than head on the outside would become predictable. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was in the next Italy squad though.
Do you expect him to still be at Torino next season?
His contract is running down – it actually expires next summer. There are a few reasons a new deal has not been put into place. D'Ambrosio had reportedly been unhappy at not always being a first choice, or being moved around so much. The fact he has started every game this season may change that. He would have probably been club captain this season had a deal been struck earlier. D'Ambrosio may also be seeking to increase his options for next summer with a queue of suitors likely to offer bigger money than Toro's current salary cap. So the short answer is, unfortunately, probably not. Fiorentina or Napoli could make a move for him.
You can follow Peter Bourne on Twitter: @PietroNato