Saturday September 1 2012
The X Factor

With Serie A looking to the future and investing in youth this season, Dave Taylor highlights 10 youngsters who have that special something. 

Despite losing icons like Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Del Piero, Serie A still has ‘predestinati’ likeMattia Destro, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile, youngsters with the potential to take their places. At the moment comparing them is a bit like going to see a tribute band like the Strolling Bones and expecting to see rock idols. Instead you know they are not the real thing, they know they are not the real thing but most importantly you still had a great night out and it only cost you a tenner. Everybody knows that the likes of Insigne and Destro are almost idols themselves, so let’s look at some other wannabes who have that X Factor to become stars of the future.

Luca Marrone (Juventus 28/3/1990)
The Italian U21 star shone in pre-season for Juventus and, although a central midfielder, his versatility and various injuries saw him dropped into defence in the opening day win over Parma. As in previous games he maintained his concentration throughout and made all the right moves, coolly operating 10 metres behind Andrea Pirlo while also acting as a sweeper. He has played at every level for Juve’s youth sides and was a crucial part of the Primavera side that won two Viareggio Carnival Cups.

Manolo Gabbiadini (Juventus-Bologna 26/11/1991)
Although a top graduate of the renowned Atalanta nursery, Manolo struggled to break into the first team with German Denis as first choice. However, he did star for the Azzurrini, scoring nine goals in 13 games. Completely at home with the ball, he has an exciting ability to bypass opposition defenders and devastate with a thunderous left foot. Sent on loan to Bologna from Juve, he will be hoping to be the one to fill the hole left by the departed Marco Di Vaio, albeit with competition from Alberto Gilardino.

Luis Muriel (Udinese 18/04/1991)
One of the stars of relegated Lecce last season, thepromising Colombian international forwardscoredseven goals in 25 games, including two outstanding strikes in the 4-2 defeat of Roma. At just 20 years of age he returns to his mother club, where his pace and clever footwork should see him flourish even further under Francesco Guidolin.  

Nicola Leali (Juventus-Virtus Lanciano 17/02/1993)
A teenager with such fabulous potential that at 16 he became the regular ‘keeper for Brescia’s Primavera side. Likened to Gianluigi Buffon, he commands his area, is amazingly mature for one so young and as such will not be unnerved by the comparisons. His shot-stopping skills, positioning and lightning reflexes made former Juventus Coach Gigi Maifredi remark, that the youngster will make “Italian football history.”

Mattia De Sciglio (Milan 17/06/1990)
Mattia is still learning his trade but made his Serie A debut last season and never let anyone down. Has been given the number two shirt and in the mould of Marcos Cafu and Mauro Tassotti is an explosive powerful right back, who can also play on the left. A regular with the Italian U19 side, he was also called up as an unused substitute in the recent Azzurri-England game.

Richmond Boakye (Juventus-Sassuolo 28/01/1993)
After joining Genoa in 2009, at just 17 he made an historic start to his career becoming the first Ghanaian to score on his debut. Last season he really hit his stride scoring 12 in 34 games on loan at Serie B side Sassuolo and helped them into the promotion play-offs. Obviously his goal-scoring feats did not go noticed and Juventus acquired him on a co-ownership deal. After playing in pre-season he has returned to Sassuolo on loan.

Diego Fabbrini (Udinese 31/07/1990)
‘Fabbri’ made his name in a break out season with Empoli before moving to Udinese last summer. Yet although it took him some time to settle, towards the end of last season he was unmarkable and one of the main reasons Udinese finished in the top three. With the balance and flair to take him past players, he has also caught the eye of Azzurri Coach Cesare Prandelli with a debut cap against England.

Paul Pogba (Juventus 15/03/1993)
The former Manchester United youngster is physically strong and can operate as a defensive or an attacking midfielder. A French U21 star, he is capable of tremendous free kicks and coupled with his inherent ability to pick out teammates with accurate passes is an outstanding prospect. In short he is the perfect example of the side that Antonio Conte wants to build at Juve: young and innovative.

Federico Viviani (Roma-Padova 24/03/1993)
The young central midfielder was one of the stars of Roma’s Scudetto winning Primavera side and possesses a fine footballing brain with a vision and pace to match. One of his specialties is to break down the opposition attack and get his own side back onto the offensive.  Seen as one of the players that Roma will build their future around, he has been loaned to Padova to gain experience, as Daniele De Rossi stands in his way in the first team for now.

Alberto Masi (Juventus 2/09/1992)
The elegant central defender impressed with Pro Vercelli in the Lega Pro first division and was a leading light in their promotion into Serie B last season. A natural footballer he is most comfortable on the left side of a flat back four and is more suited to a cerebral game than the outright physical, not that he shirks a tackle when it is needed. 

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Have your say...
Lulz. So this writer isn't a pro-Juventino...
on the 4th September, 2012 at 2:57pm
NO team has youth quality like Inter, Juan Jesus, Joel Obi, M'Baye, Coutinho, Livaja, Longo and Duncan. Juventus are not far behind but the likes of AC and Napoli have only 1 or 2 special youngstets.
on the 2nd September, 2012 at 6:22pm
People are missing the point, we already know of Coutinho, SES, Ljajic etc. Longo has gone to La Liga, so we will not see him in Serie A this season.

Sure there are some ommissions, but if David was to produce an extensive list, we wouldn't see it until next year, such is the number of wonderful talents coming through.

Thankfully, the shackles look to be coming off, and these new gems should be given an opportunity to showcase their skill-sets.

Cristante excites me!
on the 2nd September, 2012 at 1:53pm

How are the likes of Immobile more known than Muriel who was dubbed as the new Ronaldo for times last season which he finished with 9 goals.

If age is factor, what about Fabbrini?


Indeed, somebody hit the nail. If you add every player with similar potential to Masi, Leali onto it, you'd get a list of 30-40 players. And for top 10, choose a bit more widely than one club!

And also: Inter last season won 3 out of 4 youth groups of Italy. Yet, no mr X Factor there?
on the 2nd September, 2012 at 7:49am
For a funny guys who said about coutinho and sharaawy, could you please to read the article carefully :

Everybody knows that the THE LIKES OF Insigne and Destro are almost idols themselves, so let’s look at SOME OTHER wannabes who have that X Factor to become stars of the future.
on the 2nd September, 2012 at 12:08am
Oh the prestigious next gen! Aka that first year tournament.
If you think interesti primavera players are more proven than those who have played proessionally, don't know what to tell you.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 10:29pm
One name will become more prominent as the season moves on: NICO LOPEZ!
on the 1st September, 2012 at 10:24pm
C - Some people say that the likes of Obi are too old. What about the awfully massively overrated Fabbrini. Full season in Serie A, lot of time as second striker, did he even get assist or goals!? Born 1990! Obi born 1991!

And I'm not sure if Juve fans are blind enough to beleive in this article to prove that their team is infinitely better.

You paid high money for some youth players. Inter won NextGen and Primavera league, were they playing with 25 year olds??? Google a name: Daniel Bessa
on the 1st September, 2012 at 9:59pm
Why this is rubbish: A) What's with every single younger player Juve has bought being in that list? There are tons of similar kids yet to make the big step belonging to clubs like Roma and Inter too (plus other clubs) Bessa, Caprari, Livaja, Vydra etc are as proven or more proven talents than most of those Juve guys. B) You could make the excuse of not putting in the likes of Coutinho etc because they are known already.... but then you add Muriel on that list. I think 9 goals last season?
on the 1st September, 2012 at 9:49pm
Do ppl even read the article at all.... there is an intro for a reason. The names he mentioned in the first paragraph are a sample of obvious, well known wonder kids...whining because he didnt mention Coutinho who has been prominent at inter (on and off)for 3 yrs or so is ridiculous. Why wld anyone scream El sharawy!! when he is a starter at AC Milan, how much highlighting does he need?!
on the 1st September, 2012 at 9:26pm
If you are complaining about insigne not being on here, you are commenting on an article you clearly didnt read because it says names that people arent so familiar with and even named insigne. We all know insigne el sharaawy and coutinho hence they are not here.

Leave it to interisti to lament about not naming any 17 yo who had a decent primavera game and recognize there are other youth players, you don't see us juventini naming beltrame buoy prince etc etc
on the 1st September, 2012 at 9:08pm
Juveeeeeee juveeeeeee juveeeeeee the best team in Italy all the way forza juvee
on the 1st September, 2012 at 8:40pm
Coutinho already has but apart from that he didn’t even play in Serie A last year. Maybe Dave should have titled it ten players with six Juve starlets included and no-one cud have moaned. Get a life it’s Serie A not the EPL. Everyone knows that there are more than ten great youngsters in the league. Obviously space means that Dave could not get more in. All ten were excellent choices and whether you think your fave is better is immaterial, they are all great youngsters.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 5:37pm
All those bitter anti-Juve people out there getting weird about their favourite player not mentioned, get a life. At the top the writer stated that Insigne, Immobile and Destro are naturally almost there anyway, if anyone knows what Predestinati means. There is probably a list of 50 or 60 that could make a list of potentially good players. Admittedly Longo would be in a top ten but it is just players who could make a name for themselves.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 5:36pm
This article proves that we are doing something right and our future is bright unlike Inter, Roma, Milan and Napoli.

I am looking forward to seeing Luca Marrone,Pogba and Alberto Masi. Good luck to Gabbiadini, Boakye and as they are our future.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 5:28pm
A lot of people are saying that insigne should be here and all those inter players but let me tell you something:
1. just above luca marrone, he wrote "so let’s look at some other wannabes who have that X Factor to become stars of the future." We all know insigne. This article is about the new insigne of 2012-13.

2. You all are saying that longo, mbaye and other inter players should be on this list. They should be but only if they play in the first team. This has always been the problem with inter that they don't give chance to youngsters, (well even I'd they give, youngsters blow it like Rannocchia or whatever his name is or Castaignos). I am happy that their new coach will bring them in the first team and we will see more of them and mention their name in this article next season.

3. Why would Obi be here. He is older than them and really not the great in my opinion.

Well on one note I am with you'all. Coutinho should have been here. But that doesn't mean any of the above players are undeserved.

I am a juve fan and unlike you guys I respect other teams be it inter, milan, napoli, roma, lazio, udinese and others and you should be too. At this time when serie a going down, the teams should back each other up and bring the league to the glory days again...

Forza juve!!forza inter!!forza milan!!forza roma!!forza napoli!!forza udinese!!forza lazio!!

Forza serie a!!!
on the 1st September, 2012 at 2:55pm
Although promoting young talent is very important, particularly Italian talent, I still feel a host of players on the transfer market were available, and missed by Italian clubs. Yann Mvila was available for 15 million, Napoli would of done well to bring him in ahead of Behrami. Lloris for 8 million is a steal. Sahin on loan is a quality player. Just a few very talented players who were affordable.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 2:40pm
Why so many complaints? These are some great players he mentioned. And I think everyone already knows about Insigne, Immobile, El Shaarawy, Coutinho, etc. Gabbiadini and Fabbrini are two players who have been ignored despite their great talent. I've been seeing more of Fabbrini and I'm impressed.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 2:34pm
Great to see the youth of Juventus so prominent. Conte clearly has a lot of faith in the likes of Pogba and Masi as they are already in the 1st team squad, when in previous years they would have been sent out on loan by now. Marrone looks like a Juventus veteran already, hard to believe that last Saturday was only his 9th appearance. Leali clearly has a bright future and will hopefully become the long term heir to the mighty Gigi Buffon for both club and country.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 2:20pm
Well posters, I think the notable omissions [coutinho, el shaarawy et al] make room to list less recognized talents. Who needs to be nudged to keep watch on insigne?
on the 1st September, 2012 at 2:16pm
Coutinho!? What a blind fool
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:48pm
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:39pm
If you bothered to read the article you would notice that Insigne is mentioned..

But otherwise I agree with most commentators here.. What´s with all the Juve players.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:29pm
What a pathetic list. Incredible not to see Coutinho on the list who is in my opinion the best young player in serie a by far. In addition to the first comment on the article, totally agree that there are a host of inter's players like Mbaye, Obi, Longo, Romano who are miles ahead and more proven than the names mentioned above. I also thought El Sharaawy and Insigne deserved a mention. Poor selection.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:29pm
There are a few names missing, true,but it doesn't make these youngsters not worth the mention,especially the likes of Pogba and Leali, they are gonna be future stars. I do agree with some of you that Coutinho,Insigne and Longo all deserve a mention as well..

Serie A is going through its phase,hopefully we will be back on top!
Pay some attention to the Dyabala also,Palermo usually knows how to choose potential wonderkids..
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:20pm
Marco Capuano (Pescara)
Mattia Perin (Pescara)
Bruno Uvini (Napoli)
Omar El Kaddouri (Napoli)
Eddy Vargas (Napoli)
A. Bertolacci (Genoa)
E. Lamela (Roma)
Alessandro Florenzi (Roma)
Giuseppe Del Luca (Atalanta)
A. Stevanovic (Torino)
M.D Faraoni (Udinese)
S. Ninis (Parma)
A. Acquah (Par
Libor Kozak (Lazio)
P. Obiang (Sampdoria)
A. Merkel (Genoa)
J.Obi (Inter)
El Shaarawy (Milan)
Ljajic (Fiorentina)
M. Camporese (Fiorentina)
Savic (Fiorentina)
Allan (Udinese)
Pereyra (Udinese)
Badu (Udinese)
on the 1st September, 2012 at 1:06pm
Where is Lorenzo Insigne??? Who is probably the best o them all footballtechnical speaking....
on the 1st September, 2012 at 12:48pm
When writing such an article, an advise would be to use a journalist who knows about Serie A youth. It's quite shocking to read Dave Taylors article, its so obvious that this guy has no clue what he's talking about.
on the 1st September, 2012 at 12:47pm


Definition of REJUVENATE
transitive verb

: to make young or youthful again; specifically : to restore sexual vigor in (as by hormones or an operation)
intransitive verb

: to cause or undergo a renewal of youthfulness
on the 1st September, 2012 at 12:37pm
Honestly, the fact that philippe coutinho was left off this list is just disgraceful. Any legitimate football fan knows he's the best under 23 player in serie a and a class above everyone on this list. What's worse is that other inter youth players, who won Europe last year, are left off this list. The likes of Joel obi, Juan Jesus, ibrahima m'baye, Alfred Duncan, samuele longo, and Marko livaja are all extremely talented and promising youngsters. Stop loving juve and give credit where it's due
on the 1st September, 2012 at 11:56am

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