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The fifteen most promising Under 21s in Italy

The best Italian talents on which we place our hopes for the future of the national team

The fifteen most promising Under 21s in Italy The best Italian talents on which we place our hopes for the future of the national team

It's already been a month since the European Under 19 final that the baby Italians have lost, only in extra time, against Portuguese team. In the meantime Serie A and Serie B championships have begun, and the first seasonal Italy games are about to start: the two friendlies that the Di Biagio's Under 21 squad will face against Slovakia and Albania (because next year the U21 European Championship will held in Italy, so Italians have not to play qualify matches) but especially the first two Nations League games that the new manager Roberto Mancini's national team will play.

If you also read phrases containing the words 'renewal' and 'let's play youngsters', it's normal to ask yourself some questions about what to expect really: for example, who will be the best young players to discover in the leagues just started? And again, from whom will be the Azzurri roster be formed in view of the upcoming European Championships 2019 and 2020 (if they will reach the qualifying pass)? To finish with a more general question, is it true that in Italy young people are used less than other countries? We tried to answer all these questions with the list of the 15 players who currently represent our future, using as a unique requirement that of age: they are all born from 1st of January 1997.


NAME: Simone Edera

BORN: 9 January 1997

CLUB: Torino

Starting from the youngest, we have to talk about the most talented of the recent products of the Torino youth sector. Edera has a very important relationship with the brown shirt, because he contributed to the winning of the 2015 Primavera championship. Then he went on loan for one season between Venezia and Parma, in third division, but has played just a few minutes and therefore decided to continue its maturation in a place that he knows better, that of Torino precisely. For him, a left-handed wing that plays mainly on the right side, there was only one goal in the Italian Serie A (but a great goal, at the Olimpico against Lazio) and a glimmer to be able to express his value provided by the departures of Ljajic and Niang.


NAME: Nicolò Barella

BORN: 7 February 1997

CLUB: Cagliari

After Edera, here is another player who plays in the team of his hometown, Cagliari, which has already had the honor of dressing the captain band. Barella is a modern midfielder ready to play in every positions, and guarantees quality and quantity when needed: the number of yellow cards received and the way to kick the free kicks say something more about him. At the moment, refused the offers from big clubs, and has decided to grow with the rossoblù, but does not hide the ambition to want to be part of the new Italy cycle: already called by Ventura and now by Mancini, is just waiting to make his debut.


NAME: Alex Meret

BORN: March 22 1997

CLUB: Napoli

The goalkeeper born in Friuli is a special case, in which it is the fame that precedes his play. Although his debut in A only took place on January 28th, he received great feedback from those who know him well, which are speaking for him: insiders, great goalkeepers of the past and coaches who have no doubts about his skills. As soon as he comes back from the injury (after his shoulder problem last year, he has broken his left arm this summer) a difficult but stimulating challenge awaits him: to defend the goal of a top club like Napoli, the team that most of all believed in he picked it up in the summer for more than 20 million Euros.


NAME: Rolando Mandragora

BORN: 29 June 1997

CLUB: Udinese

With the money received from the sale of Meret, at Udinese decided to invest heavily on Mandragora, the midfielder who returned to Juventus after Crotone's experience. In Friuli they considered that it could be the right player for the future, being a defensive midfielder that can also play in defense but above all a leader: launched in Serie A with only 17 years with Genoa, he was captain of the Under 20 team at the last World Cup and a standstill of the Under 21, already boasts more than 40 appearances in A and a debut in the major national team, despite a bad injury left behind now.


NAME: Federico Chiesa

BORN: October 25 1997

CLUB: Fiorentina

Among the children of great former players who risk even to improve the performance of the fathers there is no doubt Federico Chiesa: he too, as Mandragora, made his debut against Juventus and then slowly take his place in the Fiorentina starting eleven. Federico has burned the stages: he's one of the most dangerous offensive winger of Serie A and has already dressed the Italian national team jersey in the friendly against Argentina. What is really positive about him is that, at the moment, we don't know his limits: being able to repeat last season is only the basic objective from which to become a real top player. 


NAME: Patrick Cutrone

BORN: 2 January 1998

CLUB: Milan

Like Chiesa, we can not imagine the future of our National team without a youngster like Cutrone: one of those who was born ready and who did not need time to adapt to play with the older ones and show off his great striker's instinct. After an amazing season, the one just finished, the AC Milan player this year will be officially the Higuain's subs but we are sure that he will be able to find the time and the way to do the thing he does best: score goals. Because the last one against Rome at minute 95 was not a coincidence.


NAME: Manuel Locatelli

BORN: 8 January 1998

CLUB: Sassuolo (on loan from Milan)

It's been almost two years since that October 22 when the young Milan midfielder was the match winner of the clash against Juve, with a screaming goal from outside the area. The recent AC Milan's society troubles have not helped his growth path and now Manuel has moved to Sassuolo because he need to play more, and to disprove all those who are convinced that the first brilliant performances whit Rossoneri shirt did not correspond to the real value of the guy, let's remember, he is still 20 years old.


NAME: Marco Varnier

BORN: June 8 1998

CLUB: Atalanta

There is not only the Serie A, sometimes it's in the second thier that we find high level talents: one of these could be the centre back that Atalanta just buy from Cittadella. Too bad that the '98 class did not even have time to debut with the new jersey that suffered a serious ligament injury that will force him to skip most of the season just begun. But we are convinced that it's the most futuristic defender and that working with Gasperini will be able to improve a lot: that's why we preferred it to other young Atalanta good players ready to blow up (Pessina, Capone and Melegoni above all).


NAME: Gianluigi Donnarumma

BORN: 25 February 1999

CLUB: Milan

What about the Milan goalkeeper? An authentic predestined is perhaps the definition that best describes the Neapolitan goalkeeper who burned the stages so quickly that it's strange to know that he is still 19 years old with a whole football life ahead. A giant in every sense: has already received the investiture of Buffon, the major National is in his destiny, as well as the goal of a top club: maybe it will be AC Milan (with they has already played 100 official games) or maybe another club but does not matter, because we are convinced that making some mistakes too much in recent the last months is not a big problem but is physiological.


NAME: Mirko Antonucci

BORN: March 11 1999

CLUB: Pescara (on loan from AS Roma)

At Pescara there is no longer Zeman to have fun discovering young strangers, but the Abruzzesi squad is full of interesting young talents borrowed to accumulate minutes on their legs: in addition to an interesting player like Capone in the attack trio there is another offensive element coming from the cantera of AS Roma that must be followed carefully. This is Mirko Antonucci, only twice used by Di Francesco and has not wasted time to shine: in Genova against Samp has immediately served a valuable assist for the Dzeko goal, against Liverpool instead he made his debut in Europe in a tough Champions League semi-final. In Pescara he will not have to play his cards in a matter of minutes but will have a season to show how much he really is worth.


NAME: Nicolò Zaniolo

BORN: 2 July 1999


It is undoubtedly among the most talked-about young players at the moment because, surprisingly also of his own, he has just been called up by Roberto Mancini. The new AS Roma prospect, arrived in the capital through the Nainggolan selling, is going to add to Verratti and Maccarone among those who have been called in the major national team without having ever played in A. Son of Igor, Zaniolo after a fleeting experience with the Entella in Serie A B and is back from a great season with Inter youth Team and a Italy Under 19 in which was ever in the starting lineup at the last European Championships: it remains only to understand if in his future he will be employed like a offensive playmaker or midfielder.


NAME: Moise Kean

BORN: 28 February 2000

CLUB: Juventus

Unlike Zaniolo, Kean has already shown a lot of his skills in Serie A without having ever played in the national team, even in the Under 21. The Ivorian striker born in Piedmont has broken every record of precociousness becoming the youngest born in the new millennium to play and score in Serie A: as well as with Juventus, the team that holds him, he have also done with Verona. His future is still a question mark, since he remained in Turin despite the abundance in attack of the Bianconeri: if the chances of playing are very low, training with great champions will certainly help him to grow above all mentally.


NAME: Sandro Tonali

BORN: May 8, 2000

CLUB: Brescia

With Zaniolo, Capone and Kean there was also the midfielder of Brescia among the most positive notes of the recent Under 19 Euro Cup concluded with the silver medal: when we talk about Tonali it's impossible not to refer to Andrea Pirlo, given that the young midfielder, as well as the origin and physical appearance, also reminds tremendously his way of playing and staying in the pitch. Tonali has already shown last season to be ready for great challenges, we can only hope that the continuous comparison with the former midfielder of Inter, Milan and Juventus can not damage him by charging him with pressure.


NAME: Nicolò Fagioli

BORN: 12 February 2001

CLUB: Juventus

If Juventus today is perhaps the team where more interesting young people are circulating, despite the few titles won, we can not talk about on the last in terms of age, the young Fagioli. We are talking about a player in the making, because he's 17 y.o., but what amazes are the endorsements received by Mr. Allegri and his recent teammates, as the 2001 class participated in the Juventus American tour playing without any reverential fear. The future number 10 of the national team? It 's still early to say, but the talent born in Piacenza seems to have something more than the peers: we'll talk about it in a few years.


NAME: Pietro Pellegri

BORN: March 17 2001

CLUB: AS Monaco

He is even younger than Fagioli and he's already playing at high levels, against opponents who are also twice his age. That of Pietro Pellegri, in fact, is an absolute exception: he scored a brace in Serie A at just 16 years old and a few days ago he also went close to broken the record of Mbappè, scoring for the first time in Ligue 1 with the Monaco jersey. It's true that his goals must not deceive us too much, but Pellegri undoubtedly has the stuff of the great striker: for this reason he chose a prestigious team like the French, with whom, who knows, could even debut soon in the Champions League. The first game with the National team, however, is only postponed: called up by Mancini, had to say forfeit due to an injury.