Saturday October 6 2012
Don't forget about Santon!

Having finally found his place at Newcastle, Dylan Fahy believes Davide Santon deserves another chance at senior level with Italy. 

Davide Santon instantly struck a chord with Newcastle’s intensely passionate supporters when he signed for a fee in the region of €6.5m from Inter in August 2011. “I have never seen a Mackem in Milan,” cheekily confessed the Italian full-back, upon signing a five-year deal, as he intimated that rivals Sunderland never qualify for European competitions. 

It has taken the 21-year-old considerably more time to settle into life in Northern England, however, and while featuring predominantly in his first season, a move from Milan was never going to be easy. Despite making 27 appearances, he simply could not consistently live up to predecessor Jose Enrique. It was to be expected, but having already won two Serie A titles and a Champions League crown prior to arriving at St James Park, there was a considerable amount of expectation to live up to from the onset.

Inter Coach Jose Mourinho put faith in the Ravenna-born youngster in his first year in Italy and he went on to make 40 appearances for the club in all competitions.  Originally a winger, he was converted to a defender in the Nerazzurri’s Primavera.  An exciting turn of pace and invaluable versatility made him an asset to a squad plagued by injuries for substantial periods of time.

“I am very impressed, Santon is already an excellent footballer,” admitted Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 after he was marked out of Manchester United’s goalless stalemate by the defender on his European debut. That season he won his first domestic crown, and in the space of a year went on to conquer five separate trophies including an Italian treble, the FIFA Club World Cup and Super Cup. 

Unfortunately when the Portuguese tactician moved on to Real Madrid after the momentous season, he rarely played with Rafael Benitez at the helm and was farmed out to lowly Cesena as part of a deal for fellow full-back Yuto Nagatomo in January 2011.

After only a handful of appearances in Emilia-Romagna he returned to the San Siro, now under the court of Gian Piero Gasperini. The Coach’s favored 3-5-2 formation allowed him to play as a wing back, which he did to great success in pre-season, but was sold that same summer to Newcastle.

A year on and Santon has progressed exponentially in England and has made himself a mainstay in Alan Pardew’s side. “He was a boy last year, but now he is starting to play like a man,” announced the 51-year-old boss. Having played the full 90 minutes in all but one of the club’s Premier League games this season, he has also become a fan favorite.

“His language skills have improved and he has a North-East girlfriend cooking him some nice pies, so he's a bit happier…” While Pardew has discovered the real secret to his success, there remains one sticking point with Santon. He has represented Italy since the age of 15, but has fallen off the radar of the Italian international setup over the last 12 months.

Cesare Prandelli glossed over him for recent World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta for the senior side. New Under-21 boss Denis Mangia also left him out of European Championship qualifying matches with Lichtenstein and the Republic of Ireland, despite previously captaining that category for a prolonged period.  

“A recall to the full squad seemed like a utopia a year ago, but now it is possible. I have just one thing to say to the Coach – please do not forget about me!” Santon’s plea may fall on deaf ears, but if his current form continues for any longer it simply cannot be ignored. 

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Have your say...
Prandelli's Problems. Stop with Giovinco. Get off you're thing with Diamanti, by bringing up Gilardino wont work out. Realize you have a great opportunities with good names who deserve call-ups. Ranocchia is no good neither is Sirigu. Candreva hahaha r u kidding me thats a joke. Montolivo not even in good form with milan right now. Stop contradicting yourself cause you said if not in good form no call ups. Realize that Insigne in a trequartista role with Balotelli and Destro will be spectacular.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 2:48pm
I do admier Santon that is why he is among the Azzuri squad I dream.
El Shaarawy
on the 9th October, 2012 at 5:21am
Italy has some great future defenders - however I am still befuddled by Prandelli's choices up front- choosing Destro and Osvaldo in front of Cassano is like choosing Verrati and not choosing Pirlo. Cassano had a good euro cup and was excellent in the qualifiers. Remember Prandelli took him out at halftime against Spain. is Prandelli getting orders from Galliano anf Berlusconi?
on the 8th October, 2012 at 10:05pm
Sam De Martino, I totally agree with you about your worries on Prandelli, yep, why 4 goalkeepers!!! I value what he did with Azzurri in Euro'12. However, I think he is not being real smart with his choices lately. Yes he has rejuvented the squad and inserted some young fresh talented players, but until now he has not created that special magic, that sparkling squad consistency. I am worried too.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 5:39am
No Quagliarella who again has been in good form and deserves a chance. Di Natale is world class but I understand age isnt on his side. Also Giovinco who has done nothing in an Italy shirt. I give up. In goal after Buffon we have Consigli and Leali who are the future, Viviano has done well so far this season as well. Now is the time Prandelli to start looking to the future, Gianluigi isnt going to be here for ever. Prandelli is starting to really worry me.
on the 7th October, 2012 at 7:08pm
Prandelli has lost the plot. 4 goalkeepers, De Sanctis and Sirigu who are terrible, no Consigli which is a joke. No Roncaglia who deserves a chance yet we have Ranocchia who is a liability and Criscito back. No Cassani who I rate. Maggio in the squad, did prandelli watch bulgaria match, my god. No Nocerino or Motta yet we have Candreva. Insigne in the under 21s fair enough as 2 tough games with swedan. Gilardino my god I cant believe it, ahead of Cassano who has been in stunning form
on the 7th October, 2012 at 7:00pm
Davet - I've seen a lot of Santon at Newcastle and he's been average. He shows signs of quality and is still very young so could - and probably will - improve but lets not over egg the pudding. As it stands he's average and I'd rather have Criscito, Balzeratti, De Ceglie or even Antonelli as left back for the national side.
on the 7th October, 2012 at 2:01pm
If Maggio can make it on the Italian National team, then there is no reason why Santon shouldn't be on the team.
on the 7th October, 2012 at 12:45pm
Point taken Tanel but I have followed Santon since he was young and I have been disappointed with his progress. Maybe I was a little harsh. Yes I do feel he has improved this year at Newcastle but he is still a long way off a World Class full back, BUT he is only 21 so he does have time on his side.
on the 7th October, 2012 at 8:25am
People indeed have to remember this boy is ONLY 21 years old and is now starting for high mid-table Premier League team. (And been quite good since the end of last season)

If he hadn't burst onto the scene at so young age people would be raving on about him.

The comparisions with Maldini/Facchetti might've been premature, but nonetheless to call him an "insult" to Italian NT's previous left-backs is ridicilous.
on the 7th October, 2012 at 7:28am
Santon is always my first transfer to Juventus in my Fifa Games, and with so little quality options for full backs i really dont know why Juventus haven't made a bid for him yet ... really hope to see him back in Serie A soon
on the 7th October, 2012 at 7:24am
Don't forget about Criscito
on the 7th October, 2012 at 2:42am
Token Bubble....How can Miccoli play for Italy when he is about 2 stone ovrweight!!! He is too fat cant have him wobble around the pitch when italy can have Giovinco
on the 6th October, 2012 at 8:11pm
When Santon came on the scene he was touted as Inter’s answer to Maldini. To mention him currently as an Italian left back is an insult to the other great Auzurri number 3’s never mind the best in Maldini. Santon at best in an average premiership player
on the 6th October, 2012 at 7:35pm
I'm very surprised that Santon has been left out of the U21 squad. I mean, he used to be captain. I'd be very disappointed if he was ignored by Prandelli. Santon may not be as good as his promise suggested years ago, but he's still a very good full back.
on the 6th October, 2012 at 4:19pm
I have also seen Santon play for the Geordies and despite my inborn bias against them they are a great team to watch and Santon is excellent, so were MS is coming from I don't know certainly not from Tyneside. Maybe it is you that has been reading too much wilkipedia. Perhaps a few Geordie pies might help you see a bit straighter. A good article well researched and true Also a good Newcastle pie can even put more hairs on a Yeti. Check Newcastle' stats before you accuse others of no research
on the 6th October, 2012 at 3:01pm
Let's not just stop at Santon, Miccoli's exclusion is scandalous!!!
on the 6th October, 2012 at 11:06am
especially since there aren't many options at left back, Santon should have been playing for a long time
on the 6th October, 2012 at 10:57am
Firstly you need to use more than wikipedia for research, very poor article.

The reality of Santon is apart from a few good games at the start of his Inter career he's been really average. He was average (some might say poor) at Cesena and has been average at Newcastle. If he hadn't got into the Inter team at such a young age amidst all the hype then nobody would mention him now for the national team.

He needs to improve a lot - and lets hope he does!
on the 6th October, 2012 at 10:53am
Yes I agree Santon should not be ignored neither De Sceglio both have qualities. I hope certainly Prandelli calls them for the next WC fixtures.
what are the chances for Santon to get a call? I don't know, but I certainly know one thing; when a player makes a plea and sends a message to the Coach "please do not forget about me" that is something worth looking into. Santon should be called to play with the Azzurri.
on the 6th October, 2012 at 10:06am
Crescenzi, Balzano and also Samparisi of Genoa are some other great prospects for the wing back positions. Lets not forget about Santon's former Inter teammate Biraghi. So Id say Italy looks pretty good in those positions for the upcoming years
on the 6th October, 2012 at 9:53am
He is a technically sound player, but I feel that he lacks aggression in his game. He is too timid. His defensive skills are also not the greatest. Comparisons with Maldini, were both premature, and unfair. He has the ability to be a very good full/wing back, I just hope that he can take off the handbrake, and go for it more.
on the 6th October, 2012 at 9:46am
As a NUFC fan I have seen Santon get stronger with every game he plays, the defencive side of his game has improved alot this season he is also a joy to watch when going forward, IMO Newcastle and Italy have a gem of a player.
on the 6th October, 2012 at 9:36am
Santon and De Sciglio are the future fullbacks for the Azzuri. De Sciglio can play on both sides while Santon will play on the left. Besides there is no competition what so ever in their spots.
on the 6th October, 2012 at 9:19am

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