Survey of young Italians. Few foreigners in the Primavera Championship

Only 33.6% of the members of the workforce of the 18 teams are not Italian, the owners are even only 2.3 per team. The problem becomes such when they move to Serie A, where the average number of homegrown players under 21 is 2.7 per team, with laughable minutes.

Marco Calabresi

In the last round of the Primavera Championship played before the break, and before the under-19 foreigners debate was one of the identified causes of the national team’s flop, 64 players who arrived from abroad and lined up as starting points out of a total of 198: about a third, in line with 33.6% of the players who make up the squads of the 18 teams in the top youth league, including two B clubs (Lecce and Spal) and even one of C, Pescara. Too much? Maybe, but not everyone plays.


The team which, in the last round – even small champions over a total of 25 days – fielded the most foreigners from the 1st minute was Lecce, with eight out of 11. The match with the fewest Italians from the start was Genoa. ten, four rossoblùs and six bianconeri, the same number compared to those who had seen themselves in the quarter-final won by Juve against Liverpool: Senko, Nzouango, Muharemovic, Iling, Soulé and Chibozo. Ten as at Roma-Inter, but there are three exceptions: Italian-Australian Volpato, called up by Italy Under-20s, and brothers Franco and Valentin Carboni, eligible for both Italy under (and it’s happened before) and Argentina, that in this break he even called them both up with the senior national team. However, taking into consideration a larger sample of matches (20 out of the 25 played, only the resumption between Juventus and Verona scheduled for Tuesday April 5 is missing) it turns out that the very successful are only 42 (43 with the usual Volpato), an average of 2.3 per team.

multinational from Lecce

They range from six from Lecce (newly promoted to Primavera 1 and which includes Corvino, who often take us with foreign talent, you see Vlahovic recently and now Hjulmand…) to four from Juve, Sassuolo and Turin. The Roma leaders (Ndiaye, Tahirovic and Voelkerling Persson) have three (plus Volpato), Cagliari, who is the first pursuer, also has three (Astrand John, Kourfalidis and Tramoni). And then little by little all the others, with Empoli, Spal and Sampdoria (a confirmation for the Italian champions, a reversal of the trend compared to the recent past for Emiliani and Sampdoria) without a player from 20 appearances. The league top scorer chart sees three Italians in the lead: Ambrosino (Napoli) commands with 14 goals, followed by Di Stefano (Sampdoria, 12) and Nasti (Milan, 11). The first and the third are in Finland to qualify for the European Under-19 Championship with the national team (a draw with Germany and a victory with the Finns after the first two games, Tuesday the decisive third with Belgium), the second cannot because it is out of reach, born in 2002. The regulations, to date, provide for the use of five per game. Five players (for one there is no age limit) who at 20 have not yet competed in professional football. And here we can reflect.

but the national teams…

To show how young Italy has young people, and how good they are, it suffices to list the latest results of the “competitive” Unders: the Under 17s have played the last two European finals played before Covid (in 2018 with the promotion of 2001, the following year with the class of 2002), the under-19 team did the same with the ’97 (in 2016, defeat against Mbappé’s France) and with the ’99 ( beaten in 2018 by Portugal in extra time, in this team Tonali, Frattesi, Zaniolo, Scamacca, Pinamonti, Kean). At the world level, the same good results: a third place with the under-20 team in 2017 in South Korea (Orsolini top scorer of the tournament) and a fourth in 2019, with Pinamonti second scorer behind the inaccessible Haaland.

the numbers in a and b

The problem, if any, arises when players leave the youth sector: in Serie A teams, the average for Italian players under 21 is 2.7 (with playing time at 4% of the total minutes), in B, it only rises to 3.7 (with 7% minutes). Speaking of under-21s in training, the average drops to 0.43 under-21s per team in Serie A and 0.8 per team in Serie B. Moral of the story: Foreigners in Primavera could be less numerous, but the Italians who came out of this championship could be more and better valued.


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