Friday November 17 2017
Borini bouncing back

While Milan splashed out on star names this summer, Fabio Borini has been the surprise standout performer, writes Richard Hall.

Whilst the Rossoneri were spending in abundance this summer, Fabio Borini arrived with few fans and arguably fewer hopes. His loan move from Sunderland surprised many and would have seen more questions asked, had the likes of Andre Silva and Leonardo Bonucci not been catching the eye of the expectant fan base.

His new club promised much, but as yet have not delivered on expectations, as their players try desperately to gel as a cohesive unit. Despite all the odds however, Borini has been one component that has impressed in his time so far.

The 26-year-old has played more times in England than he has in Italy. His beginnings in the Bologna youth team saw him picked up in 2009 by Chelsea, although he only appeared four times. Whilst his potential has seen him join the likes of Parma, Roma, Liverpool, Swansea City and finally Sunderland, his performances have never been consistent enough to see him cement a regular place. Before joining Milan last summer, he had amassed 144 league appearances for all clubs, netting a paltry 31 goals. His performances for Sunderland saw him hold down his most regular spot, slap bang in the middle of a relegation season.

The powers that be in Milan saw in Borini something that others did not. First, he was really not cheap in the circumstances. They had what they thought to be an adaptable squad player, quick, hard-working and resolute. Vincenzo Montella knew that Borini’s character could help his team, as much off the field as on it. In an early interview after his arrival, Fabio commented on how he felt he had matured. He noted that he had been given the role of interpreter by the Coach as he can speak more than one language, and this helped him form a bond with Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez and Hakan Calhanoglu.

In the same interview he also talked about his work ethic and adaptability being two of his biggest assets and this has been notable in his appearances so far. Whilst the Rossoneri have showed glimpses of what they could be, they have also looked disjointed and at times a team of individuals rather than the unit they may well still become. Borini is the counter argument to this, his willingness to sacrifice himself for his team, not to moan about selection and eagerness to play in different positions is endearing him to the fans.

The Derby Della Madonnina is always a game that evokes excitement and there are many players who dream of glory in this fixture. Who wouldn’t, as a forward, want to score Milan’s winner in front of the Curva Sud? This is why the Rossoneri faithful were shocked as in that very game Borini was deployed as a right wing back by Montella, his work rate and technique made it a choice that whilst originally looked like folly, actually wasn’t a bad option. Here, despite his team losing, he had one of his best games in the shirt.

Montella may not have everything under control in San Siro, but his team are slowly improving, and some small amount of credit should go to the 26-year-old multi-tasker. Central midfield both right and left (almost defensive), at wingback and a left-sided forward position, he has helped the team where they have needed it. Now, whilst he may not have excelled in any position to the ultimate degree, he hasn’t disappointed either and his English style of work rate and enthusiasm for ‘mucking in’ is a credit to him. After all, in 13 games he has only played four in what closely resembles his natural position.

Whether Fabio Borini can rebuild his career at Milan as a utility player will be found out over the course of the season, but it is so far, so good. His potential has seen him represent some of Europe’s top clubs, but his consistency has often seen him not develop to the next level.  Whilst he is still young, he is evidently maturing, and Montella will want in the trenches with him. He is not the answer for Milan but the way he approaches his duties should be an example for anyone pulling on the red and black stripes.

Have your say...
You know you are an average team when you have a player like Borini playing for you.
on the 21st November, 2017 at 9:29am
could be worse when all matches are played this weekend. 4 points behind Sampdoria who have 2 games in hand. How has Borini's work ethic, grit or whatever you wanna call it helped at all? Why are you guys justifying this kind of selection process? How on earth can he be a better option than Calabria or Abate in their specialized position? Anyways in your parallel universe Borini has won the world cup 3 times with Italy without the present Milan side holding him back so no point arguing.
on the 19th November, 2017 at 11:15am
@Di Rocco what do you have against 5 year olds or did something bad happen to you when you were 5? Cos you are too dim to understand nobody including me is against work ethic or whatever but Borini is a striker by trade. He is not a wing back, full back, winger or midfielder. Milan do not have enough skilled players to justify adding another workhorse to the team. He is taking the place of better players in their rightful positions becos of Montella. Milan are currently 7th in the table but
on the 19th November, 2017 at 11:09am
Borini is not doing bad as a backup to the injured Conti
on the 18th November, 2017 at 11:38pm
@Dennis - Congrats, you noticed teams need skill as well as grit. Just because a team needs a Pirlo, doesn't mean they don't need a Gattuso. Once again, your logic closely resembles that of an unsocialized five-year-old. No one was making the claim that skill is not an essential part of football. Why has Messi not won the world cup three times with Argentina then? He doesn't have a Puyol or Busquets there to back him up. I stand by my first statement, so much you don't know about life or footy.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 6:03pm
@Dennis - Should we scour the blogs to find all your ridiculous posts from the past? Haha, man, hold a grudge much? Don't worry, you'll grow up one day, man.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 5:45pm
I definitely remember saying that, and I certainly thought it at the time! Too bad that didn't pan out. I have long since changed my mind on Ventura, as people often do. Being wrong about that doesn't mean I'm wrong about Borini though! Take your five-year-old logic someplace else.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 5:41pm
I don't get the complaint if conti was fit fair enough but he is playing over abate or antonelli half the time. Honestly it is up to silva to push for his place in the first team.

In any case even in great milan sides there has always been a grafter the likes of brocchi tomasson gattuso ambrosini eranio giunti. Milan not being able to great prestige players needs a strong work ethic at the moment to quote conti the players need to eat grass.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 3:09pm
@Ringo since you need to be educated then I will tell you what is wrong with your Gatusso analogy. Gatusso had Pirlo, Kaka, Rui Costa alongside him so it worked as him as the grit among silk. Do you think he’d have stood out if he was playing with Tommasi,di bagio and Ambrossini? sorry but teams can do without a striker that cannot score, pass or cross properly. i want to be Messi saving my team and carrying mediocrity like Borini
on the 18th November, 2017 at 11:16am
Ooh there goes the grand wizard Di rocco always telling people how they know nothing about life. This is the same grand wizard that was trying to convince me all those years ago almost verbatim that Ventura was a good hiring for Italy. If you deny it I will take my time to look for the particular blog.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 11:02am
For everyone who think this guy is mediocre, remember that a football game is won by work rate and determination not solely fancy footwork or pass-count. For every Pirlo there is Gattuso and for every Zidane there is Deschamps. He is definitely an asset for the club, his versatility and work rate will give him place in almost every team in the world. I want to be Borini, making it counts when everybody give up and performed when underestimated.
on the 18th November, 2017 at 3:42am
Borini brings unparalleled work ethic to any team, and if you think that's worthless, well, there is just so much you don't know about life and football. From the few games I've seen, Borini has certainly not been the worst player on the pitch and some of the so-called talented players could learn something from him. Maybe wingback is where he is best suited, he certainly has the legs for it. Watch his double against Inter when he played for Roma and then come utter this trash talk, not likely.
on the 17th November, 2017 at 11:40pm
This guys keeping Andre Silva out the team so just NO
Like the other guy said Sunderland to Milan is just a total joke all i see him do is give the ball away
Try's along shot ... gives the ball away
Try's to take a player on ... gives the ball away
Commits a foul ... gives the ball away
on the 17th November, 2017 at 1:59pm
No he is not! Sunderland to Milan, it is a joke
on the 17th November, 2017 at 1:24pm
I often think that the premier league is a meat-grinder for youth development with the likes of de bruyne having to move to Germany to show his true quality. Personally i would love to see a end of young Italian players going to English youth academies.

Still borini has done better than most in a similar situation for all his faults he is actually a pretty decent all round player with a excellent work ethic. I would be happy to see him at milan as a utility player.
on the 17th November, 2017 at 12:06pm
No, no and just no. Could we please stop glorifying mediocre players as this is 1 of the reasons Italy are not at the wc and more specific to this post Milan are struggling. If Montella played the quality players at his disposal constantly then they won't be in this mess. In this current climate quality is what should be promoted not dross like Borini
on the 17th November, 2017 at 11:37am
If Borini has been the 'stand out performer' for you then I have no idea what games you've been watching. Literally all he has to offer is his work-rate, Conti will not have to break a sweat to take his place in the starting XI once he returns from injury.
on the 17th November, 2017 at 11:19am

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