Tuesday March 17 2020
De Zerbi: 'Berardi underrated, Caputo for Italy'

Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi has suggested Francesco Caputo could help Roberto Mancini’s Italy and claimed Domenico Berardi is underrated.

The Neroverdi are currently 11th in Serie A and De Zerbi has done a great job with the young squad at the MAPEI Stadium, but the player who stands out from the rest is 32-year-old Caputo.

He arrived from Empoli last summer and has scored 13 goals in 23 Serie A games for Sassuolo and De Zerbi has suggested that he could be the Salvatore Schillaci of Roberto Mancini.

“For me yes,” the coach told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Few players in Italy are as strong in the area and has the same ability to always position themselves correctly in front of goal.

“He is a professor who attacks space and loses the man marking. Ciccio was a latecomer to Serie A, he is enjoying everything with the maturity of an expert. That’s his strength.”

The 40-year-old tactician is also impressed by captain Domenico Berardi’s abilities and has claimed that the 25-year-old attacker is not regarded according to his talent.

“I would like to have many of Berardi,” he said. “In training he is an example. Only Timo Werner at his age, 25 years old, scored more than him.

“He is underestimated, like so many things at Sassuolo. Domenico is ambitious and lives for football. He is intelligent and sensitive. He has refused so many opportunities to not change his life, maybe he will do it this summer or later on.

“When he plays in a bigger club, he will get the right evaluation. Berardi, [Jeremie] Boga and [Manuel] Locatelli, I see them in big clubs. I would take them with me.”

Manuel Locatelli arrived from Milan in the summer of 2018 and De Zerbi reveals that the 22-year-old has matured during his time at the Neroverdi.

“He decided himself to grow, we only accompanied him. I also clashed with him when I had to,” De Zerbi admitted. “The group addressed it, now he is complete. He leads the team by word and example.”

And the other mentioned above, Jeremie Boga, has been linked with a return to Chelsea, after leaving for €3m in July 2018.

He has established himself in Sassuolo and the coach has claimed that the former Birmingham winger will continue to develop.

“One-on-one, there are few people who can rival him in the world. Indeed, one-on-three. He didn’t know the existence of the goal, he struggled to connect with his teammates, to make himself useful and to play without the ball.

“We hammered it in. It is gratifying to see how much he has improved. He has already scored eight goals and he will be able to establish himself at 15 every season.”

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