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Scout Report: Federico Bernardeschi - Profiling the Fiorentina Youngster

ANALYST
Feature
899   //    14 Sep 2016, 10:47 IST
Federico Bernardeschi of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France.
The youngster was a part of Italy’s Euro 2016 squad as well

Federico Bernardeschi was a man in great demand in the recently concluded transfer window with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain keen on signing the 21-year-old. However, the young attacker’s decision to stay put at his current club Fiorentina is believed to be inspired by his aspirations to continue with his development as a footballer.

Though the side might have finished outside the top 4 in the Serie A last season, they are no pushovers and the youngster is expected to function as one of the creative lynchpins of his side in a bid to better their league performance this season.

In this segment, we take a look at his background, playing style, strengths and weaknesses of the player who caught the eyes of a number of footballing critics last season.


Background

The youngster joined the Atletico Carrara academy as a 6-year-old kid and his abilities even at such young age caught the eye of a number of Fiorentina scouts and he joined the club’s academy in 2003. He made rapid progress as a youngster at the club across various age groups and was soon knocking on the doors of the first team.

However, the hierarchy at the club believed it was too early to hand him his chance in the Italian top flight and sent him on a season long loan to Serie B club Crotone at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

The youngster did not disappoint as he helped the Crotone side achieve a respectable 6th in the league in the league, featuring 39 times during the course of the season and finding the back of the net on 12 occasions.

He has spent the next 2 seasons back at the club where he learnt the tricks of the trade and has built a steady reputation for himself as one of the best young attackers in the league, especially with his performances last season.


Style of Play and Strengths

While he has been trained to be an attacking midfielder, he is versatile and can feature on either wing and even as a second striker, when required to do so. After being deployed on numerous positions at the start of the last season, he flourished an inverted right winger and has since cemented himself in the mentioned position at the club.

His versatility has been his biggest attribute so far. Irrespective of the position he is played in, the player is up to the game and shows a footballing maturity very few players his age possess. The player is tidy with the ball at his feet, loves to take on his man dribble past him and has developed a penchant for getting behind the defensive line and creating chances for his teammates.

Not short on creative instincts, he was amongst his side’s leading chance creators last season, having created 40 chances and would be looking to add to the number in this season.

The responsibility that is associated with playing on the wing has also brought to the fore the ability of the player defensively. His industry, positional awareness and willingness to put his body on the line for his team have led to his development as an all-round attacking unit and we believe the youngster has a big future on the wings for his club and country.


Weaknesses

Bernardeschi is a footballer who has very few technical deficiencies. He is comfortable on the ball, is tidy with his passing and is an intelligent footballer. If there is one aspect of his game that needs to be worked upon, it is his decision-making in the final third of the pitch.

He has a tendency to roam around the box rather than being direct, a trait which can put off his team’s attack. The player’s abilities ensure that he is presented with a number of goal scoring opportunities. However, he will need to be more prolific with his goal scoring to be truly counted as a world class player.

At just 21 years of age, it is understandable that the player lacks these traits and we believe he will only improve in the mentioned areas with age and playing time. A hard working player, should he keep his head on his shoulders, he could become one of the most exciting players to have come out of the club’s academy.


Quotes on the player

His manager Paulo Sousa has been a keen admirer of the player and had some kind words to say about him the past, “He is a player who has a strong desire to help the team, the city and himself. “When a player has this attitude, the coach has the ability to change tactics. Not everyone has this open-mindedness.”

His teammates too have been impressed by his abilities and Davide Astori, Fiorentina’s central defender too echoed the sentiments of manager Sousa by claiming, “He’s got talent and the right head on his shoulders, and he’s improving gradually. He could make history with Fiorentina though, and I hope he sticks with us for a while.”

The new season might not have begun as per the plan for Fiorentina as they currently sit 13th in the table after just one win in their opening 3 league games and Bernardeschi, like many others at the club will be hoping to put the bad start behind them and ensure a return to form. The interest in acquiring his services is not expected to die down soon and the player will be hoping to replicate his exploits from the previous season to enforce a move to the greener footballing pastures.

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ANALYST
I write Football particularly the young kids we need to watch out for. The players in my fantasy league come good after 3 years so keep an eye on them for the long run.
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