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Fullbacks Factory

In Bergamo they know how to make the side strips work beautifully

Fullbacks Factory In Bergamo they know how to make the side strips work beautifully

Imagine finding the job of your dreams. Attention: the workplace, not the work itself. You have already understood that for years, you have identified your way and so on. Being hired by the perfect company, however, is another story. And maybe it's just as important, because that's where you'll spend most of your day. Or better (in our case), of your days, intended as a calendar. Intended, in turn, just like the Serie A calendar.

Atalanta is the best team for every fullback, even if "fullback" is a bit of a simplification: Gasperini values ​​the external players of his 3-5-2, makes them grow, looks after them, feeds them until they are able to take flight by yourself. Then it is up to them to decide whether to continue flying on the Nerazzurri strip or migrate to other shores.

To be honest, the Gasperini care in recent years has revitalized players in every role: central defenders (from Masiello to Toloi, passing through the various Caldara, Mancini, Palomino), midfielders (for example, the 2016/2017 season remains the best in absolute for Kurtic in Serie A), strikers (yesterday Petagna, now Zapata, with the constant Papu Gomez and the loose mine Iličič). All benefit from the dense and vertical play of the former Genoa coach, even if the maximum artistic expression of Gasperini certainly remains the side bands.

Yesterday: Conti and Spinazzola

The 2016-2017 season is Gasperini's first on the Bergamo bench. The 2016-2017 season is the first attempt, the prototype of a gaming system and interpreters that, in the years to come, will make the fortunes of Atalanta and its fullbacks. And the first to benefit are Andrea Conti and Leonardo Spinazzola.

The Nerazzurri coach has no fear of burning the young, he believes in their inner fire, in the balance of the flames. For this reason he sends a team full of boys whose birth year ranges between 1993 and 1996 at once. In general this is a risk for medium-low level teams (as was Atalanta up to some year ago), which usually rely on old sea wolves, foxes, any metaphor of the animal world that inspires security in the field.

This decision to launch a gang of kids, however, eventually repays: Atalanta will end the season with a return to the Europa League (which had been missing for 26 years), certified by a goal from Conti against Milan. And that was just the last of the 8 seasonal outdoor centers, the protagonist of an incredible vintage.

Across the field, however, Leonardo Spinazzola was in action, ending that season with 5 assists to the assets. Two young stars on the outside, enhanced to the maximum by a game system that illuminates the bands and then returns in a disruptive way towards the center of the field in the highlight, just when the door is closest.

The performances of Conti and Spinazzola do not go unnoticed: on the first one Milan swoops, deciding to wear him the Rossoneri shirt during the summer 2017 revolution (which also brought Kessié, another Gasperini pupil, to the Rossoneri). Spinazzola, on the other hand, remains on loan in Bergamo for another year and returns to Juventus only in the following summer. After months of fighting with a knee injury, today he is an important player in Allegri's chessboard, as shown in his last field appearances. A similar speech for Conti, who after his final recovery is climbing the hierarchies on the Rossoneri again.


Today: Hateboer, Castagne and Gosens

The company therefore had to face two important resignation letters. But she did not let herself be discouraged, and immediately repaired the gears of the factory by inserting important plugs to continue to produce good performances in the field. To date, in essence, Conti and Spinazzola have been replaced not by two, but by three players, who at this historical moment in Atalanta are alternating on the field with the usual, excellent results.

Hans Hateboer, born in 1994, is playing an extraordinary season: 5 goals and 4 assists in the assets, great rides on the wing, perfect insertion in Gasperini's schemes. The Dutchman also has an impressive physical structure (he is 187 cm tall), which allows him to assert his muscles also in the various clashes on the wing or in the penalty area.

Even Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne can count on a considerable resistance from the physical point of view, combined with a methodical and applied tactical dedication to the end. Surprising the way in which Castagne imposed himself in the Gasperini hierarchies: he had to alternate with Hateboer on the right, instead he managed to carve out an important space on the other front of the field, instead giving the change to Gosens. And things work wonderfully even on the left, looking at the numbers: 3 goals and 4 assists for the Belgian, 3 and 2 for the German.

The Atalanta outdoor department, therefore, continues to be a decisive play factory, in turn inserted into a large fullback factory. Who knows how long these players will still face the Nerazzurri shirt. One thing is certain, however: even in the case of important greetings, in Bergamo they will continue to increase external levels. A question of production cycles, certainly. To paraphrase a famous saying: the players pass, the factory remains.