In 2015, according to La Stampa, the FIGC were looking to initiate around 70 federal football centres as well as 200 development centres in Italy each levying near to 4 million euros in investment.
Reports such as this surfaced prominently in 2015 and essentially the targets of growing initiatives were 12-14 year olds.
It should not just be the models of development that are looked at though, but the age old semantics surrounding club versus country, league clubs’ spending and the encouragement of symbiotic relationships.
In 2013 figures such as Antonio Conte remarked how he couldn’t see an Italian club winning the Champions League in the near future.
He is quoted as saying “It makes me laugh when I hear that with just two or three new signings we can win the Champions League. Italian football has come to a standstill and that should be a concern for everyone”.
In 2017, what is the state of play?
Some of the higher capped Italy U-21 players who belong to Italy’s biggest clubs like Milan and Juventus, need to begin cementing themselves in the starting eleven of their club sides and the national team. Such examples would include Andrea Conti, 23 and Daniele Rugani, 23.
The likes of Alberto Cerri at the age of 21 has racked up not only a decent amount of appearances for the Italy U-21’s, essentially he has gained more regular experience with a variety of loan moves, most notably at Lanciano and Cagliari.
Cerri looks promising and has already gone through a system that would hopefully allow his step up to Juve’s side on a more regular basis come the 2018/19 season, barring any disasters.
The likes of Domenico Berardi have made staggered appearances for the Italy U-21’s and will soon turn 24, but impressive has been the appearances he has racked up for Sassuolo, and a goal return that at this high level shouldn’t be sniffed at.
A more sustainable and fruitful model is needed
The hope is that the Italian system churns out a higher number of players who can contribute more regularly to the Italy U21’s and at club level, even if that means gaining confidence in Serie B for a season or two, though this is of course entirely dependent on the individual.
Pinning hopes in the rich and exciting talents of future stars like Bernardeschi is all well and good, but a model needs to be adopted where top clubs and those traditionally further down the table can feed in 21/22 year olds on a far more regular basis than at present.
Written by Ross Wilson
Follow Ross on Twitter @ro55iWilson18
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