Wednesday April 16 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Cerci

Alessio Cerci is having a stand out season and Dave Taylor believes that the Torino winger should be a shoe-in for the Azzurri this summer at the World Cup.

Today in football everyone talks about passion, but it’s not enough to simply have it, you have to show it and if there is one Serie A player who shows it in bucketfuls, it is Torino’s Alessio Cerci. With his former club Fiorentina he earned a reputation as a troublemaker, yet in retrospect perhaps it was more his frightening self-assurance, a confidence in his game, rather than the suggested arrogance. Whatever it was, it’s all in the past and today he is the epitome of what a modern footballer should be - integral, intelligent and insatiable.

This season the 26-year-old has been all that and more, he has played in every game and now rightly believes he offers a lot to a team. “I have matured and in a 4-3-3 there are few players able to do what I can,” he considered recently. “I have unique characteristics. My best position? I am known as both a winger and someone who adapted to being a striker, whilst my preference is to play out on the flank.”

As a pacey and clever right winger, he is at his most dangerous when waltzing through defences before cutting inside to score with his lethal left foot and most of his goals have come in this manner. Full-backs may know this and invariably have it drummed into them before a game but they have still proven powerless to stop him. He scores goals, creates them, converts penalties, is exciting to watch and with 13 goals and 11 assists in Serie A, is a player bang in form.

With Torino he plays just behind central striker Ciro Immobile and they share a chemistry that almost guarantees goals, with the pair scoring or assisting in all but two of Torino’s 49 in the League. And while Cerci is at his best on the swift counter-attack, always ready to exploit the slightest defensive mistake, he is always an outlet for the long ball out of defence.

His assist and goal against Cagliari recently were perfect examples of this alertness. On the stroke of half-time Cerci collected the ball, screamed down the right, stole a few more yards on a defender and served up a teasing delivery at the back post for Omar El Kaddouri to head home the opener. In the second half it was his turn as he snapped on to a superb through ball behind Cagliari’s defence and with the unshakeable coolness of a leopard stalking its prey, simply slotted it past the onrushing ‘keeper from an angle.

It’s these sorts of skills that should make him a more than an obvious choice for Brazil. Even though he has yet to score or produce an assist in 12 international appearances, albeit with only two of those being starts, ‘Henry di Valmontone’ Cerci is a player on the kind of form that  Cesare Prandelli may not be able to overlook.

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Have your say...
You guys have completely lost the plot. Why Balotelli because he is our best no.9. Quags should be ahead of Osvaldo though but personally I want either Totti or Cassano,especially in the heat of brazil- these type of players will be key. Pirlo is the heartbeat and will be assisted by derossi and monty. I would love this 11:

Abate Bonucci Barzagli Chiellini
Marchisio derossi montilivo

I'm also liking Ferban's 11.

Forza Italia
Campioni Del Mondo ****?
on the 1st May, 2014 at 12:56pm
I like him but he is a little inconsistent. I am hoping he becomes this year's Bruno Conti.
on the 25th April, 2014 at 12:28am
If i where prandelli here is my squad GK buffon perin sirigu CB chiellini, palleta, astori, barzagli, bonucci LB santon chrisito MDS, RB maggio, abate, MD pirlo aquilani montolivo, de rossi motta, candreva, forwad cerci immobile balotelli, destro, ses and rossi if there fit.
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 4:35pm
Daniel Liguori miffs: "Qualigliarela ahead of balotelli? Thank god you are not involved the italian squad selection."

Absolutely! Quags hits the inside of the net 8 times out of 10 and is more powerful technically and physically.

You actually think no one striker merits replacing Mario Barwuah! His paltry track record speaks volumes.
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 2:28pm
Yes Daniel he is better you clearly don't watch Cigarini or Atalanta and know nothing about his game which is fine cause you probably watch a lot of Verratti and like him more personally. I watch both and in my opinion he is better, and plays in a harder league.
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 2:13pm
Cigarini better than verratti? Qualigliarela ahead of balotelli? Thank god you are not involved the italian squad selection. Cerci is ok and will most likely go to brazil as he can play behind or wide of the forward.

He will pick

Rossi (regardless if he plays again this season)

I would like to see immobile and destro ahead of Osvaldo but not so sure. I think he may sacrifice criscito so he can have 7 attackers as apposed to 6
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 11:05am
my italy line up against England

darmian-paletta-chiellini-de sciglio
motta-pirlo-de rossi
cerci-immobile-el shaarawy
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 4:55am
Dario asks: "why is everyone choosing balotelli in their squad selections?"

Excellent question I have been asking since 2012. With Quagliarellia and Miccoli available, it boggles the mind. The Ghanaian has trouble scoring even if the keeper stepped out of the way. Perdelli will ruin us. Thank you Mr. Abate, you half wit.
on the 21st April, 2014 at 1:07pm
prandelli must use 4:3:3 or 4:2:3:1 it must include cerci.not candreva.CT have his favourable players like montolivo,giaccherini,gila,osvaldo please dont include them
on the 20th April, 2014 at 5:18am
Agree Dario no doubt Cigarini is better than Verratti and Montolivo, stats prove it. He has the most assist for any Central Midfielder this year in Serie A, a better passing percentage than Pirlo and he don't have no Cavani, Ibra, or Lavezzi, Verratti has 4 assist with that cast which is not that good Cigarini would have at least 10 with that team. Everyone is all over the hype of Verratti. Pirlo said himself Cigarini is his heir and the future player in his role.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 3:08pm
why is everyone choosing balotelli in their squad selections? Can someone explain what he has done this season to merit even being called up.
@ferban..ogbonna really...he's a sub for Juve! You might as well call up peluso too! However the rest of your choices seem pretty good although I might go for cigarini ahead of Verratti
on the 17th April, 2014 at 10:25pm
@Denis, I know that your question wasn't directed at me, but Bonaventura better than Insigne, really? I wouldn't say that the Atalanta man is better at dribbling. Where I think Insigne has the edge is in his composure, trickery, vision, passing and set-pieces. Another thing that I like about him is that he is a big game player. His only issue is often his final pass or shot. I've only watched Bonaventura play about 6 times, so I will try & catch some more Atalanta games
on the 17th April, 2014 at 6:48pm

I like your set up!
on the 17th April, 2014 at 4:23pm
Yes, bring Cerci, a good player. Great speed, flair and eye for goal.
To Daniel, you have many valid contributions, but am interested to know why (in your selection) do you have Insigne ahead of say, Bonaventura..? The latter has the better form and in my view is twice the player - better dribbling, control, pace, physicality, heading and goalscoring ...
on the 17th April, 2014 at 4:05pm
it is a bit of a no brainier other than italy complete lack of wide players which lets face it is pretty normal for italy he has been one of the best forward players this season in the league. Add to that the great Ac Jimbo accusing cerci of being the joker in the pack on his podcast it is pretty much a done deal.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:29am
Cerci has to be there. He has an exceptional skills and he showed what he is capable of these couple of years. there are few players with his characteristics that he has. He could be our Joker.

To Rio, I would think about:
- Balotelli
- Immobile
- Cerci
- Rossi or Cassano or Destro
- Insigne
on the 17th April, 2014 at 10:37am
Glad to see that we're all on the same page here! He has always had the ability, but now he has consistency and a greater work ethic. His quality, versatility, & pace (something that we're lacking) have to make him a certainty. I'd be tempted to start him, but could also imagine him being a very effective sub against the tired legs out in Brazil. If Conte ever wants to switch to a 433, then Cerci would be an ideal signing for him.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 9:05am
If he can keep the form he is currently showing and score goals like the other day! Then it's a no brainer and he has to be there!
on the 16th April, 2014 at 8:54pm
He is a certainty in WC squad. He is a valuable player who can be deployed either as a wing or a second striker and has decent scoring ability.
on the 16th April, 2014 at 8:42pm
A must pick as one of the 5 forwards, his performances this season warrant it. I hope he is in real contention for the starting XI for every game. I have a feeling that if Prandelli can feed his ego that he can be a protagonist instead of being merely a squad member then he is capable of doing big things on the biggest stage... He could be our Robben in a Bayern Munich style formation. I would love to see a front 3 of Cassano, Balotelli, Cerci
on the 16th April, 2014 at 4:11pm
Yep, another easy one. Skilful, full of running and uses his brain before he passes. He has to start Vs England, end of story.
on the 16th April, 2014 at 4:08pm
100% in the squad, I would also be tempted to start him in some games his pace would kill England
on the 16th April, 2014 at 4:03pm
sirigu - perin
maggio - barzagli - ogbonna
candreva - florenzi - motta - montolivo
destro - immobile - insigne

Who to play at full back is a problem as many of Italy's are better suited to wing-backs, but if they are playing 4 at the back they don't have many options.
on the 16th April, 2014 at 4:00pm
Cerci and Immobile

Cassano and Rossi

Two leathly combos that can trouble any defence.
on the 16th April, 2014 at 3:37pm
He has to be there.
on the 16th April, 2014 at 1:33pm

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