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Azzurrini attack hints at a positive future beyond European Championships

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By Andrew Harding

Monday 17 October 2011

Italy’s immediate future on the international scene is looking positive with qualification for UEFA Euro 2012 being achieved in a quick and assured manner. The team looks to have a strong nucleus as well as plenty of talent on the periphery to challenge for inclusion, aiding the feeling of positivity that is sweeping the international set-up. With the senior team doing so well, glances are now being made at the future beyond 2012 and whether Italy is to embark on another successful period. It is interesting to look at the fortunes of the under-21 side when estimating such future possibilities.

The Azzurrini’s current form is displaying signs of encouragement following the disappointing failure to qualify for the 2011 UEFA European Championship and the 2012 Olympics. Now under the guidance of Coach Ciro Ferrara, the Azzurrini appear to be flourishing. Tuesday evening saw them beat Turkey 2-0 thereby ending their opponents 100% record as well as maintaining their own. One area of the under-21s that has caught the eye is their attack.

The young Italian attack that was on display on Tuesday night boasted three players who’ve been catching the eyes of many admirers of late. Manolo Gabbiadini has been earning rave reviews from his Coaches at the highly-respected youth system at Atalanta and has broken into the first-team reckoning, impressive given he’s only a month shy of his 20th birthday. The other two forwards are more established in their respective first-teams, albeit teams they’re on loan to. Mattia Destro has broken into the starting-eleven for Siena and has started their last two matches, indeed opening the scoring in Siena’s solitary victory of the season to date.

Perhaps the one who’s drawn the most attention is that of a 20 year-old by the name of Lorenzo Insigne. Last season, Insigne was a leading light in the lower divisions of Calcio with Foggia and he has translated his goalscoring prowess into the second tier this season. On loan from Napoli, Insigne has followed the man who coached him at Foggia last season, Zdenek Zeman, and his impressive displays for Pescara have seen some call for him to be recalled by il Partinopei.

One of these would’ve been on the bench were it not for the absence of Fabio Borini, another youngster earning praise, on his return to the peninsula after spending the latter stages of his youth development in England. Alberto Paloschi has spent some considerable time so far in his career on the sidelines due to injury but should he manage to overcome the injury-prone tag that has beholden him, he possesses the talent to be a star for the future.

Should these young strikers enjoy impressive seasons for their clubs then they will offer Prandelli even more of a selection headache than he already has come next season’s Euros. It would be likely that these youngsters would require injuries to the more experienced campaigners for them to be seriously considered for inclusion but that would not be the case come the next FIFA World Cup in 2014. Italy would appear to boast attacking options that might create solid foundations for the Italian people to dream of a fruitful future not just for next summer.

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