Scouting isn’t rocket science! Every time a Premier League side signs a good foreign player the nation goes crazy. Who is this mystery guy? Where did he come from? Anyone with a decent knowledge of the game outside the UK would have known that the likes of Santi Cazorla, Oscar and Papisse Demba Cissé were likely to succeed, and there are plenty more of them out there. So who’s the next “secret” star to watch out for? Who is the next Cabaye?
The wreckage of Milan’s defence, with the grim central defensive options of Mario Yepes, Cristian Zapata and Phillipe Mexes lumbering along in fire-fighting mode and Kévin Constant a regular but mediocre presence on the left, hardly seems the ideal environment for a young full back to find his feet in Serie A. But Mattia De Sciglio seems capable of doing just that.
At Milan since the age of ten, Di Sciglio has been touted as a real prospect for some time, and two years ago was able to add a coveted Primavera title to his palmares. His elevation to the first team this season, and the symbolical award of the number 2 jersey, has seen him rise to the occasion.Indeed, his form has been such that he has already been touted for a call-up to the national squad. Goal.com named him in their team of the season so far.
So what’s got everyone so excited? Well, he’s two-footed, quick and very confident. He certainly isn’t scared of going forwards, but is no wing back and perfectly sound defensively. Perhaps most crucially, he seems to have a solid temperament: being thrown in at the deep end certainly doesn’t seem to have ruffled his feathers.
In the first half he was terrific, taking the game to the champions and causing them problem as Milan dominated. The second period was a different matter though: Juve were on top and Milan hung on thanks to a determined defensive display. At times De Sciglio looked edgy; a rearguard action wasn’t quite his game. But he came through, and his form has continued to be good.
Along with Stephan El Shaarawy, Di Sciglio is at the vanguard of a bright young generation which has, rather unreasonably, been handed the task of replacing the old stars who left en bloc over the last six months. It’s a challenge they’ve risen to though: although it’s hard to believe the wholesale changes were part of a masterplan at the Milanello to give these youngsters their head, the San Siro hierarchy might be about to get very lucky as the kids step up to the plate.