Friday April 8 2016
Euro 2016 Squad Selector: Donnarumma

In the run-up to Euro 2016, Football Italia will be asking who Antonio Conte should select in his Italy squad. Having become Milan’s first-choice goalkeeper before his 18th birthday, Matteo Calautti wonders whether Gianluigi Donnarumma should go to France.

Born in 1999 in Castellamare di Stabia, near Naples, Gianluigi “Gigi” Donnarumma has grown in Milan Academy until the next season, in which the first team ex-coach Filippo Inzaghi began to call him up. The most important feature he showed during training, according to the Diavolo staff, was his great calm between the goal posts, despite the aspect of playing against well-known footballers.

When Siniša Mihajlović, his present coach at Milan, decided to choose him to defend the goal posts instead of the more experienced Diego López, he made it clear that age was not a concern, despite Gigio being just 16. “The kid has been training very well and at the moment I trust him”.

More than once, during this season, Donnarumma has safeguarded Milan results with difficult diving saves. For instance at Juventus Stadium, where he was at full-stretch to save from Hernanes. Last month he made his debut for the Azzurrini, the Under 21 Italian national team, becoming their youngest ever player at the age of 17 years and 28 days.

The 1982 World Cup Winner and ex-Juventus goalkeeper, Dino Zoff, recently said: “Gigi has all the features to become a star goalkeeper. If he carries on he will become Buffon’s successor”. The Azzurri’s first-choice ‘keeper - and captain - Gianluigi Buffon has also publicly praised the youngster.

So, should the 17-year-old be called-up for Antonio Conte’s Euro 2016 squad?

He probably will not be called up for the European Championship because, excluding Buffon, Conte will need more experience between the posts. For instance, Mattia Perin has been playing well for Genoa and Salvatore Sirigu, even if he isn’t playing at the moment for Paris Saint-Germain, he could offer greater experience anyway thanks to his appearances in 2014 World Cup in South Africa.

This summer’s tournament may be too soon for him, but there seems little doubt that Donnarumma will be the future of the national team. A third-choice goalkeeper is unlikely to play in the tournament in any case, and the call would simply put the youngster under even more scrutiny.

Conte should leave Donnarumma at home this summer, safe in the knowledge that he’ll be able to step-up when Buffon finally hangs-up his gloves.

Check out the rest of our Squad Selector blogs and have your say by clicking here.

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Have your say...
on the 15th April, 2016 at 9:31pm
on the 14th April, 2016 at 1:54pm
What the hell are you talking about.This kid is absolutely great.He should be playing at the Euros not be 3rd choice.I am praying that Buffon hurts himself [this isn't swearing, so we'll allow it, but it's really not very nice... - FI] so that he cannot go to the Euros.Definitely not Sirigu.He had a chance to come back to Italy and decided not to so he is warming the seat.He is lost and has not heart.I honestly liked him and at the WC he should have played.AC do not be a fool and bring Donnaruma.
on the 12th April, 2016 at 12:31pm
Now Perrin is injured and out, I guess it's time for Donnarumma. And by the way, locker room harmony is important if you want to win.
on the 12th April, 2016 at 12:17pm
on the 12th April, 2016 at 9:11am
Its very rare that a third choice keep plays in an international tournament. Therefore, as purely an exercise to promote the young Donnarumma and give him a taste of what's to come, he should definitely make the trip. The future of gli Azzurri is in his hands, literally.
on the 11th April, 2016 at 4:56am
this article is horribly there not an editor? There's no way Sirigu should make the tournament over Donnarumma. Donnarumma has been arguably the second best goalkeeper in the Serie A this season. Donnarumma is literally holding Milan's european qualification in his young hands.
on the 10th April, 2016 at 5:16am
Let's forget about age, nostalgia and locker room connections. Donnarumma, on merit, should be in the squad. He has been very impressive & consistent. Selecting Sirigu completely contradicts Conte's words about meritocracy, he's barely played this season and would surely come in rusty, should something happen to Buffon. If it was up to me Perin would be number 1, with Donnarumma number. as second choice.
on the 9th April, 2016 at 2:44pm

Did you just say that Buffon starts reminding you of Dida?

Forget to take your pills did ya?

Oh well, Interista, you're excused.
on the 9th April, 2016 at 2:40pm
While Buffon is beast, I think Donnarumma should at least be a third choice, or backup keeper this summer. Although he's under a lot of pressure, for a 17 year old, he's pretty good. Better than Buffon? Someday. Now? It's Conte's choice.
on the 9th April, 2016 at 2:22pm
Buffon is past it; one of the best goalkeepers of all time, and an absolute legend, but he now makes silly mistakes when a team is good enough to get pass the Juventus or Italy backline. His positioning is off, he is slow and he is beginning to remind me of Dida.

If you're good enough you're ready and Donnnarumma should be put into that Italy jersey and play from the first minute. It is no coincidence that he is looked at with admiring eyes by European elites and plays for one of them (lol)
on the 9th April, 2016 at 10:45am
I think Donnarumma should stay so he can grow and mature. He will get more experience playing for u21 than sitting on the senior bench. There are 3 or 4 goalkeepers who are ahead of him at the moment, but at 17 the kid is a stud and will be top 3 by 2018.
on the 8th April, 2016 at 8:33pm
@Anonymous, while your idea is good and I like it. It may not really fair to Sirigu whom already in the team for sometimes and has some connection in the locker room. I really love to see Donnnarumma in Azzuri jersey, but I'm afraid it will affect the team's harmony. He can wait, and I believe it's pretty much fine with him.
on the 8th April, 2016 at 8:32pm
I think donnarumma should be called up. Because we all know Buffon is the starter and no other goalkeeper will play (hoping he doesn't get injured) at least donnarumma can get the experience of going into a major competition so when Buffon finally hangs up the gloves he can be thrown straight in. I personally think donnarumma has been the best italian keeper this year and deserves to at least be 3rd choice. Like I said, it would do him a world of good for when world cup comes
on the 8th April, 2016 at 3:39pm

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