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Tuesday December 4 2018
The Lautaro Question

Unfortunate comments aside, Luciano Spalletti and Inter were always going to face the problem of getting the best out of Lautaro Martinez, writes Richard Hall.

The conundrum of how often and where to use Lautaro Martinez was always there for Inter and Luciano Spalletti, but they had hoped not to face it in quite such an open and hostile manner.

“Keep going like this and your luck will run out,” Mario Martinez wrote on Twitter after the game against Tottenham. Lautaro’s father was obviously disappointed that his son didn’t come on instead of Keita Balde Diao and he chose social media to vent his feelings. The tweet was deleted and that probably might have been the end of it. This proved not to be the case. Lautaro had nothing to do with the comments, yet it came against the backdrop of Ivan Perisic’s ill-timed comments about wanting to play in the Premier League and got more coverage.

Spalletti, whilst brushing the Croatian’s comments under the table, instead chose to focus on the Argentine, claiming he needs to surround himself with positive influences. The whole situation seemed like a storm in a tea cup (especially as his father denied he even had a Twitter account to Marca). All seemed calm again, until Martinez’s agent added fuel to the fire saying that: “This is a difficult topic, I was in Milan for three months and I can say that having a player like him and giving him little space on the pitch is complicated.”

For all the unnecessary comments, there is no escaping that Martinez has only played 350 minutes of football for Inter, scoring twice and providing an assist. Whilst statistically this is a good return, there was also 90 minutes where he was anonymous against Genoa, that should be acknowledged.

The 21-year-old has much to learn, but he is very talented and according to Sam Kelly (Argentinian Football journalist), “is similar to Mauro Icardi. He's got good movement, links well with teammates, and is an explosive finisher. They're from a very similar mould, in many ways.” In the same interview for Football Italia, Sam pointed out that Lautaro is not a Number 10 any means, something that has both good and bad connotations for the Nerazzurri. On the one hand they have an out an out replacement for Icardi, this was proven against Frosinone recently, but then again there can’t be much scope for advancement as an understudy.

Whilst there is justification to say that he should stay and wait for his moments, he is only 21. Spalletti appreciates the potential and does seemingly want to get him more minutes. Many assumed that due to his incredibly close friendship with Icardi, that is developing week by week, he could play alongside him, but two-striker systems are not really in vogue right now.

Against Roma however, Spalletti deployed him (albeit for a short period of time) in a wide position and perhaps this is the answer. Perhaps Lautaro should take note of what Unai Emery is doing at Arsenal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and how he either deputises for Alexandre Lacazette (as he did against Tottenham this weekend) or plays out wide. These two are also close friends who play in the same position for a club that plays one striker. It is not inconceivable that Spalletti is thinking the same thing, as it would be careless not to exploit the youngster’s talents.

Lautaro may now start to get more game time in this position, a situation heightened by Ivan Perisic’s lack of form. Should he embrace this, then arguably Inter could have another explosive finisher on the field at the same time.

"Lautaro can turn in the traffic of the defenders with great ease, has insights, ability to go to the box,” said Spalletti a few weeks ago. So why not from a wide position? Patience will surely be a virtue with Martinez (perhaps someone should inform his camp of this).

Have your say...
In all likelihood Martinez is the future of Inter. His future is bright but in the distance. Icardi is the principal striker at this point in time. Martinez will get his turn but like all young footballers he must just bide his time. Remember patience is a virtue and after all isn't time on his side?
on the 9th December, 2018 at 3:10am
Huh? Give Lautaro a run in the team at left wing because he played there for 10 minutes to no effect?
I'm not sure when Inter fans will realize it, but Lautaro was a luxury depth signing, not a first-team signing. The club may have had short-to-medium term worries about Icardi leaving. Lautaro is not a winger nor a 10, nor will he ever be one of those things. Of course it is also impossible for him and Icardi to be at the same club for much longer. One of them will have to leave soon.
on the 4th December, 2018 at 6:21pm
Lautaro is our future star can't Spalletti recognise it? One must be blind not to notice his capabilities on the pitch. He has all the abilities of Icardi and + . Is Spalletti ready to pay Euro 35 to sign Keita. I will not gamble on what we have seen so far. But Lautaro has a lot more football in his feet, he never stops from participatingin the game.Give the youngster more playing time. Now we have seen Zaniolo what his capable of. Naingolan is no longer the footballer he used to be
on the 4th December, 2018 at 3:28pm
Rightly spoken content. You can not compare him with icardi and his pirivilege within the team. This is why he is our captian; no he is not our wise head that is handanovic and miranda but he is our brightest star. Lautaro have to respect circumstances and defends only inter color by not allowing too negativity coming from his representetives. Meanwhile, i think we can keep habit of switching to 442 after 60 minitus by bringing him on and who knows if it suits us we start with 442. But the point is remain; its only your first year, go to the next season preseason, we will have much courage to switch things and remember if you are a crackling spark it will even show in ten minutes. Good luck to lautaro.
on the 4th December, 2018 at 9:02am
Stupid. Lautaro in not a winger. He's also not a Trequartista. Spalletti has to (& will) use him as a centre forward. He has to find a way for him to coexist with Icardi (which he can).

In short, Lautaro reminds me of Suarez or Tevez; hustle, physical forwards who could do it all. Anything else will be like using a greyhound to do show tricks.
on the 4th December, 2018 at 7:05am
Young players can't develop if you don't give them minutes. Unfortunately Spalletti isn't someone who'd trust youth. The fact that he ditched Zaniolo, who's thriving at Roma, for the past-his-prime Nainggolan is prove. I wish Inter get Simeone ASAP. He plays with 2 strikers and will make Lautaro-Icardi partnership works. Spalletti doesn't have the tactical flexibility or the brazenness to play Lautaro consistently on the wings or as a 10. The fact that Keita had gotten more minutes is atrocious!
on the 4th December, 2018 at 6:26am
The agent should keep his trap shut on social media.

As for the player himself, a run in the team might be deserved at this stage with Perisic not doing much and Keita being the inconsistent player he's always been.

With Nainggolain half fit too it can give a chance for Martinez to prove himself.

Inter need to be careful they don't do what they usually do with youngsters - ruin them. They don't want another Coutinho on their hands.
on the 4th December, 2018 at 2:36am

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