Inter: The new home for Italy’s youth?
As 20 year old Italian Marco Faraoni watched the ball drop onto his right boot before unleashing an unstoppable dipping volley beyond the reaches of Antonio Mirante, it capped what was a dominating performance for the Nerazzurri, and arguably their most complete performance since the heady days of a certain Portugese tactician.
However, it wasn’t the possession, the bright play and form of the returning El Principe Diego Milito that impressed me most as a (relatively) neutral viewer, but it was the youth on show, or to be specific, the Italian youth.
Whereas Inter’s of previous generations have relied on massive foreign investment to garner results, Claudio Ranieri’s Nerazzurri vision appears to be centred around young faces, the use of the likes of Andrea Poli, Andrea Rannocchia and the aforementioned Faraoni is a very positive sign for all those with Azzurri persuasions, as well as Inter fans used to massive spending sprees on players that sometimes haven’t lived up to their billing.
Whilst I was watching Inter tear apart their opposition, quietly soiling myself about the upcoming Milan derby, it gave rise to a curious thought. What about all the other Inter youth products? Not only have Inter began to give an internal uprise to Italian youngsters, the ones they have let go, sold or passed through their hands playing at pastures new are now thriving.
Alongside current aforementioned Italian Interisti, Inter are also responsible for Leonardo Bonucci, currently enjoying a starting berth at Scudetto contenders Juventus, and looking quite the defender next to overperforming Andrea Barzagli. Also there is Matthia Destro, another former Inter youth product that is currently setting the peninsula on fire at Siena, his goals at the Tuscan club(notably the ones against Lazio a few days ago) drawing glances from the bigger clubs around Italy.
The “next Maldini”, Davide Santon, who began his career at Inter and despite not hitting heights predicted for him 2009 and personally picked out for him by Jose Mourinho, has begun to get back on track in the north of England at Newcastle, and those who saw his performance vs Manchester United would have been reminded of the boys potential.
And who can forget the eternal enigma, the firework fancier himself, Mr Mario Balotelli who was picked out as a fledging prospect by Roberto Mancini in 2008 and has since become the headline grabbing, limo driving, talent he is today.
To cut a long story short, and Inter can legitimately lay the claim for being the basis for a new generation for Azzurri stars, without really intending to. Sure, a lot of them don’t play for Inter any more, but would Balotelli, for example, be the same player without the influence of Mancini, and to a lesser degree – Mourinho? Probably not.
It’s an interesting turn of events. Inter, usually the butt of Nazionale jokes, derived historically from their inception and how they came to be Internazionale in the first place, are now setting the standard for Italian youth, even if they are not necessarially wearing blue and black. As things stand, there is a budding collection of young, fresh Italian faces in and around the peninsula, and Inter are responsible for a fair bit of it.
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