Thursday June 7 2012
Sacchi: No faith in our youth

Youth player Samuele Longo has raised eyebrows at Inter, but Arrigo Sacchi believes his is an example of the lack of faith in young players in Italy.

Striker Longo has attracted attention and praise for his performances this term for Inter’s youth team and was handed his senior debut for the Nerazzurri in the final game of last season under his former youth Coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

However, Sacchi believes that at 20, Longo should have already been in the team long ago and that he serves as an example of the wasted talent Italy has in its youth ranks.

“If we were in another country, Longo would be playing first team football by now,” began the former Milan Coach on Mediaset today.

“When I was technical director at Real Madrid, in the field we had six Ballon d’Or winners. Yet, the crowd grumbled because the club were not playing enough Spaniards and especially those from the youth academy.

“In Italy, it is always the same story and the demand is on results, on the immediate - as a director or Coach you know that to lose two games you are liable, would you risk it?”

The former Parma man suggested that the mentality of Coaches is hitting the chances of players like Longo breaking into the first team set-up in the peninsula.

“The problem is that by playing safe like this, they often create devasting effects on the economic balance at the club, not to mention on sporting projects. Longo, he is not only penalised by this situation, but he is an interesting young player, a former Under-19, who has made his debut for the Under-21s.

“He is a modern attacker, has technical qualities and he has the ability to combine these abilities to put himself at the availability of his team.

“He’s a professional guy too, which is another important aspect. He’s a little shy, but a safe prospect.”

Sacchi finished with some advice for his former city rivals.

“Inter must have a game-plan, not one of the puzzles that too often make up Italian teams, who have unfinished projects where the young players suffer the most.

“It is no coincidence that in our quest to get to the next European Under-21 Championships that we had five players from Pescara, because they have this year played at the top of their League throughout.

“And so, I recommend to plan long term, look for a fun game in which aspiring youngsters like Longo and others can come in. It would be much easier for them to express their qualities.”