Thursday November 15 2012
El Shaarawy skips the queue

Scott Fleming considers Stephan El Shaarawy's prospects of becoming an Italy regular after his first international goal.

For the worst thing that could ever possibly have happened, it's not turning out half bad. Milan's sale of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain last summer was depicted by many as an apocalyptic event, the death knell of Italian football. However, what the deal did was create a power vacuum in Serie A's Valley of the Kings, one which has been seized upon ruthlessly by a young Pharaoh.

Without it, Stephan El Shaarawy would not be a Milan regular, he would not be top of the Capocannoniere charts, and we would not have been treated to the sight of him scoring his first international goal at the Stadio Tardini last night.

“It was an important goal for me, though sadly not enough to get a result,” said the 20-year-old after opening the scoring in Italy's 2-1 friendly defeat to France. “I am going through a good period now and hope it continues. Mario Balotelli is a great player who can also give you goal scoring opportunities. I hope we can become the pairing of the future.”

El Shaarawy's rapid ascent is thanks to circumstances, to the aforementioned power vacuum and an early season injury crisis at Milan, but it's also thanks to a huge improvement by the player himself in terms of what he's actually producing on the pitch.

The former Padova player wasn't exactly starved of opportunities last season, making 22 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri in total, but scored just twice and never looked as confident – or as unstoppable at full pelt – as he does now.

Significantly, as Cesare Prandelli begins to experiment with a 4-3-3, and in an age when most young strikers mump and moan when made to play out wide, El Shaarawy positively relishes it. “I like playing wide left, it is the role I prefer the most, and allows me to alternate attacking and defending.”

Even a fifth consecutive friendly defeat, to those old enemies the French no less, wasn't enough to dampen the enthusiasm surrounding Prandelli's Azzurri. It's an exciting time for young Italian players, and young Italian forwards in particular, with the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Mattia Destro and Ciro Immobile all playing and scoring for big clubs in Serie A.

El Shaarawy has effectively jumped the queue. The Savona native has less goals and caps for Italy's Under-21 side than all of those three, but looks a lot more likely to become a regular with the senior side at present.

With Giuseppe Rossi still a long way from fitness, Antonio Cassano in exile and Sebastian Giovinco failing to impress in Savoy blue, there only appears to be one question with regard to La Nazionale's attack – who will partner Mario Balotelli? And after his dynamic performance and well taken goal in Parma, there only appears to be one answer – Stephan El Shaarawy

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with

Have your say...
El shaarawy is d best youngster eva 2 happen 2 italy.FACT.haters go drown in river thames wen he wins d cappionerre
on the 6th December, 2012 at 6:39am
whoever will partner one anoher italy will not get the best result so long as players like maggio, balzaretti, giacherini and diamanti keep playing for azzuri.
on the 17th November, 2012 at 12:20pm
I think Italy as a league needs to give young players a chance and I agree wit the statement, that Selling Thiago Silva and Zlatan was a posirive move, the Little Phoroah has got potentail and will become a world class striker in the next few years. As for Giovinco, I dont t hink he his suited to play for Juventus, he will better of playing for Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina or Parma, Im a big fan ofr Italian footbal and I do want Juventus, Milan and Inter to dominate Europe like they did in 80s -90s
on the 16th November, 2012 at 4:40pm
I don't understand why the press and fans are criticising Seb Giovinco.. he has barely started a match for the Azzurri and already the papers have turned on him. He is in good form for Juve and needs a season playing in a top team to become a champion. Italy frontline at 2014 Gio, Balotelli and Gabbiadini..just wait and see
on the 16th November, 2012 at 2:11pm
He is the future strikers for Milan and Italy. In the near future Balotelli could join him in Milan as he is desperate to come back to Italy and he is a Milan big fan since he was a kid. SES and Balo plus Pato and Bojan.. perfect forwards for Milan.
on the 16th November, 2012 at 6:10am
@forza milan

I'm not a Milanista but I hope he's better than Del Piero and Totti. They are legends at their respective clubs but they didn't live up to the hype for the Azzurri.


Milan should have sold Pato to PSG when they had the chance. When a player becomes injury-prone, they usually need a change of atmosphere.

Back to topic, I like the 4-3-3 and El Shaarawy. Hopefully Prandelli finds the right player to complete a trident with Balotelli and Il Faraone.
on the 16th November, 2012 at 12:22am
He looks to be a good player but as mentioned by people here is too early to tell , last nights game was a FRIENDLY. Sure he scored alot of goals for milan but this is a very poor team sitting at the 13th place, with a full strength milan squad like last year he would not be playing regularly
on the 15th November, 2012 at 10:08pm
Balotelli, plenty of ability but still not convinced about his attitude. But this kid is the real deal. Him alongside Giovinco or Insigne could be a partnership to win a 5th World Cup over the next decade.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 9:55pm
@ VIktor

If it wasn't for Milan poor team, he wouldn't be playing in the first place.

I'm not talking about Milan or Juve here, so quit stirring things up.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 6:32pm
I like El Shaarawy with Balotelli and Giovinoo. My take from last nights game is if he is set on a 4-3-3 you need to find a better rb then Maggio. Their has to be someone out there.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 4:58pm
El Shaarawy has really impressed and I think he has what it takes to become a real champion. As a Juve fan, I'm glad to see Milan have a great young Italian striker as it means so much to Italian football, and a bright spot for the Milan fans. Balotelli was great and his attitude looks to be maturing (at least with Prandelli at the helm). I thought Giovinco added spice when he came on as well - more as a playmaker and a troublemaker for the opposition. It didn't feel like a loss yesterday.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 3:58pm
@juve fantastico. Milan seems most interested in Balotelli. If anyone is getting pushed out by him its Pato. Imagine an El Shaarawy-Balotelli combination at club level! wow.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 3:30pm
I agree with mustafa dont get over excited. Hope is good. Totti or Del Piero hahhaa nothing to do but laugh at that one. To say we played excellent last night is a joke we didnt play bad by any means but it was far from excellent. we lost bottom line being excellent doesnt come with a lose they let us be aggressive, sat back wore us down and came away with the victory yea they scrapped it out but they won we lost we have to make adjustments.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 3:24pm
I would preffer a midfield of Pirlo, Cigarini, De Rossi, Marchisio, & Verratti which he still is young and has to improve but will be great, solid off the bench for WC 2014.This Midfield I believe gives us a better chance to score, any of them can open up and create the space for are attack to net goals consistently. And they dont press forward to much which will help us protect are leads better.Are midfield was pressing to much last night to quickly and therefore caused fatigue they got sloppy.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 3:19pm

If he was playing for Juve you would be so stoked. Impact at Milan? He's carrying them at the moment. Yes, poor results by the team is granted but without him they/we would be doomed.

He's 20, and the top scorer of Seria A.

That's good enough for me.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 3:12pm
Hey hey,

Do not get over-excited here!

The lad scores, but he doesn't have that factor of magic. He's ordinary and I don't see him just yet in La Nazionale, or in Milan big times.

Remember Di Natale, Di Vaio, Iaquinta, Lucarelli, etc... all failed to make impact in the Azzurri., while they looked unstoppable in Serie A.

He has yet to make the big impact at Milan for God sakes.

"looked as confident – or as unstoppable – as he does now"

Easy! You're not talking about DelPiero here, are you?
on the 15th November, 2012 at 2:48pm
Alot better pace last night from the midfield I agree rosario, cause verratti was the anchor. I just think Prandelli thinks candreva, diamanti, and giaccherini, are going to be consistent goal scorers its kinda embarrassing. they stall alot of are possessions buy providing sloppy crosses and unnecessary shots. Candreva last night point proved. Balo,Rossi(healthy)Insigne,Osvaldo SES,and Quaglia cause good form and WC expericence they are all good strikers, SO? Insigne a trequartista all the way.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 2:44pm
Well, El Shaarawy should certainly get more time with the national team. But, we still have yet to see Giovinco play more with Balotelli. Balotelli flourishes as a big center forward and Giovinco does great as a second striker. I think we have yet to see Giovinco's best. Also, why hasn't Insigne been called up again?? He is better than Destro and has actually been performing well for Napoli. I would say I am most excited to see him play.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 2:36pm
I think Prandelli has it right going with the 4-3-3 formation. This allows the Azzurri to get width with the fullbacks instead of having to rely on midfield "wingers" of which there are not many good options in Italy right now. This also allows Montolivo to play further back in a more traditional midfield role.
My only question is how does Maggio and Giacherini keep getting called up for the national team?
on the 15th November, 2012 at 2:12pm

Fragile books?

Selling Thiago and Ibra and cutting their salaries by millions did the trick. I highly doubt Milan are in need of selling in January. But you can always wish Adam, right.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 1:56pm
I like El Shaarawy he certainly is going to be a great player in the future. I hope he doesn't get pushed out by a January signing in Milan. It would be a shame to take a starting position from the lad. Insigne and El Shaarawy are incredible talents and i hope they continue improving and developing as they have thus far.
on the 15th November, 2012 at 1:17pm
forza milan...thats a laugh he will be sold in the summer to balance your fragile books and pay Pato's physio bill
on the 15th November, 2012 at 1:09pm
Future star, but will be able to keep him?
on the 15th November, 2012 at 1:03pm
on the 15th November, 2012 at 12:50pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.