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The rise of Patrick Cutrone

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By Football Italiano

Friday 25 August 2017

For all of the excitement created by Milan’s big spending this summer, it is the emergence of an academy graduate that is creating waves. It was Donnarumma two seasons back, Locatelli last year, and this year it’s Patrick Cutrone. With a prolific goal-scoring record for Milan’s age-group sides, his impressive displays in training prompted Montella to give the 19-year old a start in the Europa League qualifier versus CSU Craiova. While it was Milan’s first European game in three and a half years, it was just reward for the striker. No one expected him to take to top tier football like a fish to water, though.

Born in Como, he joined Milan’s academy at the age of 8 after scoring four goals in a trial game. And as time progressed it quickly became evident that goals were in his game. He scored in big occasions, no matter the level. This trait has become evident in the way he has adapted to the first team with ease. He scored in the second leg of the Craiova clash, then repeated the feat in the play-off versus Shkendija. They may be weaker sides, but it takes a level of composure to score at a level you’re accustomed to. Just to prove that was no fluke, he followed it up with another goal in the first Serie A game of the season versus Crotone. Cutrone had the better of Crotone as he won the penalty, scored a near-post header and assisted Suso, playing a part in all goals in a 3-0 win. There couldn’t be better way to announce his arrival.

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Montella has chosen to keep Cutrone in his squad this season after he dabbled with the idea of sending the youngster out on loan to gain gametime. But given the progress he’d made, he could only benefit from being part of a resurgent Milan squad. With the level of investment that the board has made, Cutrone has no pressure on his shoulders and can learn from his more experienced teammates. He’ll also gain experience in the Europa League, where he’ll surely get significant playing time.

Milan’s signing of Nikola Kalinic should not be seen as hindering Cutrone’s progress however. The Croat will lessen the pressure on Andre Silva and Cutrone, providing experience to a youthful attack. Given Cutrone is the flavour of the month, it may be forgotten that he’s just started his career. When the fall in productivity comes, there won’t be pressure on him, like with Locatelli last year. The fans are fully in support of the academy graduate. Instead of Aubameyang, Morata or Belotti joining the club, Cutrone stays on as the third striker in the squad, providing competition to Silva and Kalinic. That is some achievement for a 19-year old.

Dinner was on Cutrone after the Crotone win as per tradition, according to Bonucci. At the rate he’s going at, the new-look Milan squad will receive plenty of dinners from the talented youngster. And he’ll be more than happy to treat them.

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