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Marchisio coming of age in Conte’s new Juve

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By Will Cook

Tuesday 11 October 2011

One man who appears to be permanently smiling at the moment is Claudio Marchisio. Asked by Tuttosport at the weekend how close he was to leaving Vinovo in the summer, after reports of him being on the transfer market, Marchisio replied: “Was I? I’ve always believed and I’ve always believed in Juve.”

He certainly appears to be enjoying the Bianconeri’s terrific start to the season more than anybody and certainly believes in new Coach Antonio Conte. The midfielder has been positively gushing in his praise about Conte’s impact on the team and Juventus’ prospects for the season. The man from Piedmont has had the best start to a season in his relatively short career, scoring three times for his club and taking his form into the Azzurri shirt, grabbing his first goal for Italy in a draw against Serbia in Belgrade at the weekend.

While there was certainly fortune in both his recent strikes against Milan, the fine finishes displayed against Serbia for Italy and for Juventus against Parma in the opening game of the season reflect the abundance of talent he possesses, and perhaps suggest that Marchisio is coming of age. His goals for the Old Lady, combined with his work ethic against the current Italian champions and in the early part of the season as a whole, are a major reason why Juventus sit joint-top of the Serie A with Udinese.

Marchisio, a boyhood Juventus supporter, developed and progressed through the club’s youth team growing up watching the likes of Conte, Alessandro Del Piero, Ciro Ferrara and others in the first team. Though clearly a different player to his hero Del Piero, there was an expectation that Marchisio would take on Del Piero’s mantle and develop into the Juventus icon and future captain of the next generation, especially given he successfully captained the primavera team to its first league title in 12 years.

Though a consistent performer for Juventus, Calciopoli, niggling injuries and a conveyor belt of Coaches at the Bianconeri have perhaps curtailed Marchisio from performing to his full potential. At international level, Italy’s dismal showings at Euro 2008 and the World Cup in South Africa have not help Marchisio’s stock either, leading to some doubts about his ability to deliver.

However, Juventus, with the leadership of an old friend in Conte and playing in a new stadium, appear to have rediscovered their mojo. Marchisio has thrived playing in Conte’s attack-minded formations and is beginning after all to look like the player some thought he might never become.

It’s worth noting that of the players in the primavera side captained by Marchisio, only Paolo De Ceglie and Marchisio himself remain, with the latter the only one almost guaranteed a starting shirt. What is more noteworthy are the recent comparisons with Juventus legend Marco Tardelli, midfield maestro in a five-time Scudetto winning Juventus side, and Cesare Prandelli’s agreement with such comparisons. High praise indeed for Marchisio who has taken it in his stride declaring that such words do not frighten him.

Like his earlier comments, his response suggests that he believes he can be that man to lead Juventus from midfield into a new age of glory. And with the Bianconeri in the ascendancy under Conte, it’s hard to disagree with him at the moment. Time will tell whether six games are a flash in the pan. But for now, let’s allow Marchisio his moment.

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