Tuesday June 17 2014
Darmian provides Italy hope

Can Matteo Darmian be a regular starter for Italy? Sam Lewis examines why the Torino man has hope for the future.

As Matteo Darmian spoke to the Press following his World Cup finals debut, he was as surprised as many at his inclusion in Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad.

 “If someone had told me a few months ago that I would be here, honestly I would have laughed,” the 24-year-old confessed.

What the Torino man refers to is a three month period that would be represented on a graph as a consistently ascending line. Darmian’s World Cup selection followed an excellent season for Giampiero Ventura’s Granata that for the most part flew under the radar - he played 37 games in a variety of positions including either sides of midfield, centre-back and as either full-back.

Darmian has now turned into a crucial component of a club side that finished seventh in Serie A last season and is now, most recently, a starter for Italy - playing every minute of the Azzurri’s 2-1 win over England on Saturday night.

However, despite giving the impression he has simply popped out of the ground, Matteo Darmian will enter his third season as a Serie A regular after the World Cup. Appearing first as a 16-year-old substitute for Milan in 2006 before a collection of loan moves - first to Palermo and later to Torino in 2011 - cemented his status and first attracted the attentions of the Italy Coach.

Born in the Northern Italian town of Legnano to parents of Armenian descent, Darmian excelled at youth level for Milan, captaining the Diavolo’s primavera side at 17.

However, in June 2012 the Rossoneri sold their stake in Darmian’s contract to Palermo, ending an 11-year relationship with the player. The decision has proven to be an oversight - Darmian evolving into a consistent figure in Turin while Milan have struggled for quality at either full-back position in recent years.

Quick and industrious, Darmian was a constant threat on the right flank against England with overlapping runs and measured, intelligent movements. Displaying accurate crossing and incisive, calm passing, the former Palermo man combined well with Antonio Candreva, including one occasion that led to the Azzurri’s winning goal in Manaus.

Darmian’s effectiveness led to many lauding the performance, including Inter and Azzurro icon Sandro Mazzola.

“I didn’t expect Matteo Darmian to be so decisive at these levels but he really impressed me,” the former midfielder remarked. “England didn’t realise he was there and it allowed us to punish them.”

Darmian’s Italy involvement is a credit to Cesare Prandelli, who has once again trusted his instinct to value talent over experience. The choice of the Torino prospect instead of the more tournament tested Ignazio Abate and Christian Maggio has proven to be a worthwhile risk so far, Darmian representing another weapon that provides much-valued tactical flexibility.

It is only one game for the Torino talent who is very much at the early stages of a prospective Azzurro career, but the first indications are promising. With little expectation attached to the chances of finding a long-term solution at right-back out of either Abate or Maggio, Darmian has a real opportunity to make the position his own. Although if he did, it probably wouldn’t much of a surprise anymore.

Have your say...
Looks like Italy is finding not only the team for this World Cup, but can also look into the future with a fair degree of confidence. A 4-2-3-1 with

Sirigu (Perin-Scuffet)

Darmian-Ranocchia-Bonucci-DeSciglio (Abate-Chiellini-Santon)

Poli-Verratti (Marchisio-Baselli)

Berardi-Gabbiadini-Insigne (Cerci-Rossi-Candreva)

Balotelli (Immobile-Destro)

could already be a kind of lineup for the EC in France 2016.
on the 20th June, 2014 at 1:29pm
@ Mark Respect yourself before you reply to me. You can rant all you want. I'm no anti-Milan, I speak true. 
on the 18th June, 2014 at 12:27am
Juve. Buy Darmain and Sanchez and keep Vidal and Pogba.
on the 17th June, 2014 at 8:27pm

You're so cute with you attempts to cause controversy with your Milan hate. Most teams are observing De Sciglios while you keep hating. You know nothing kid, just stop lol
on the 17th June, 2014 at 5:10pm
Hopefully De Sciglio, or Abate for that matter, will start in the next game so Chiellini can move back to the center and leave Paletta (who looked like a disaster waiting to happen against England) back on the bench.

They may be able to go for a more attacking side too and put the pressure on Costa Rica.

on the 17th June, 2014 at 2:37pm

Aubameyang (well who would've thought he'd end up playing for the minnows Dormnund?)

Paloschi (He just didn't do enough scoring on his debut)

Matri/Borriello (neither reached their potential but could've)

I'm not saying these are all world beaters. But a) what would happen if they were believed in? and b) Were they much worse than what Milan signed?
on the 17th June, 2014 at 1:44pm

Abate (originally a winger loaned out from 2004 - 2008 and then converted to a full back with obvious defensive weaknesses)

Donadel (I always thought he could've been Milan's Nicky Butt)

Merkel (I'm not really sure why he didn't make it. He seemed decent enough).

Antonelli (I'm sure Constant and Emanuelson are so much better)
on the 17th June, 2014 at 1:35pm
Just for the laugh here's a team of players who either couldn't make it or took years to break into the team at the glorious Milan:

Abbiati (helped win the league in 1998 but then was loaned out including to Juve until 2008. We're getting the best years out of him in his 30s)



Marzorati (hailed as a big thing once. I guess we'll never know)
on the 17th June, 2014 at 1:25pm
Mustafa, shut up!! You know nothing. Your anti Milan stance is well documented. We get it, everything Milan sucks. The next Maldini according to many sucks because Mustafa, a pretend fan says so. Pathetic.
on the 17th June, 2014 at 1:19pm
@Mustaffa You bet he needs to improve defensively. If not La Nazionale is going to be up against it in the Quarterfinals against the Dutch
on the 17th June, 2014 at 12:09pm
While Darmain showed flash and dash on the right flank on Saturday night defensively he was found wanting. By being at the half way line when Raheem Sterling threaded the ball through the eye of a needle for Rooney to set up Daniel Sturrage instead of covering Rooney it demonstrates a lack of experience at this level and a worry going into a possible quarterfinal against Holland and or Semifinal against Argentina. England are nothing special.
on the 17th June, 2014 at 12:05pm
Great to see him doing so well. But then again were the signs not already there? As the article says he made his debut at 16. He was captain of the youth team. By all accounts I remember reading at the time that great things were expected of him. Then what happened? Lets look at some of the defenders Milan signed since 2006: Bonera, Sendoras!!!, Onyewu??? Legrottaglie, Yepes, Taiwo, Mexes, Mesbah. Yeah you can see why Darmian couldn't have broken into the Milan team with quality like that!
on the 17th June, 2014 at 10:42am
The most important thing I like about him is that he covers well at the back, not like Abate & De Sciglio who know nothing about defensive awareness.

But still, he needs to improve more defensively.
on the 17th June, 2014 at 10:25am

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