I decided that I had a meaty bone that I could throw out there for any potentially ravenous Inter Milan readers during what - for many - is similar to a fasting period, known as the international break. After the roller-coaster start to the campaign, for the sake of the team, many of us are welcoming it with open arms.
We have time for the injured (especially Radja Nainggolan) to recover; we have time for Luciano Spalletti to work on some things in training with those that are not called up. A player like Roberto Gagliardini will get some extra minutes in his legs with the Italian national team. There are reasons for it to be a blessing in disguise provided no injuries are added to the list while others are away on duty.
So during this time I decided to kick back and look at this YouTube clip by none other than our own Matias Vecino. View link here:
Now, this is a highlight video; in videos such as these generally you only see the best stuff. Some of us would probably argue that if we could magically record ourselves at the local kick-about and save our own best moments that we could do better than this.
My biggest critique here is Vecino’s first touch; it is horrendous on several occasions during this video. Quite often the play still comes off, but he puts the ball in a 50/50 situation when a good/great touch would remove the possibility of losing the ball. Maybe let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
And perhaps he’s doing it on purpose, and maybe he knows that he’s just playing it in such a way as to tempt the defender so he can glide past him, this is not something you want one of your defensive midfielders to do. We’ve been too vulnerable to counter attacks in the past to have one of the last players back trying this poppycock on a regular occasion.
The second observation that came to mind which I never even realised before, but it is clear to me now that Vecino would rather play in an attacking position. In the video, he is frequently seen in the attacking third. This would explain his disinterest in cleaning up the mess and playing the more defensive role. The problem here is that he’s not good enough to be an attacker, his stats are lean and hungry. The other problem is that if he’s not willing to make the defensive midfield position his own, then we have someone who might be in Gagliardini.
Gagliardini has made more tackles, more interceptions and won more aerial duels than Vecino. Even the stat which says that he’s lost more tackles than Vecino I interpret positively. It means he’s attempting to tackle more than Vecino.
Now here is where I have a go at Spalletti. To me he’s the best coach we’ve had in a very long time, but - and we all knew the but was coming - he has a habit of shelving players that are finding form and giving way too many chances to those who’ve had too many. Rodrigo Palacio, Yuto Nagatomo, Davide Santon, Eder, Andrea Ranocchia, Danilo D’ambrosio even Antonio Candreva to an extent, what do they have in common? They have been given too many chances. Then we have players like Yann Karamoh and Roberto Gagliardini who when they begin to hit some form they are shelved. Luckily we have so many good players in the squad right now it is hard for Spalletti to get it wrong.
Back to this video. Can anyone honestly say after watching the video that this is a silky, technical footballer that is beautiful to watch? The positions that Vecino finds himself in must leave the backline exposed quite often. He’s the first player I’ve ever seen (in any team) trying to pass the first ball in a match and kicking it out of play.
Let’s not forget the red card he got against Juventus last season. I guess what I’m trying to say is that he seems to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. I will never forget that he scored the goal that got us back into the UEFA Champions League but that is where it stops for me, he must not be allowed a sure starting place unless he proves himself to be much more useful.
Fellow Serpent writer A. Abdullah recently wrote an article stating how important Gagliardini could be for us and I agree, for his age, he has been one of our best midfielders since we acquired him. He was first choice for each coach before but now he’s hit his first stump under Spalletti. He is no Gabriel Barbosa, Roberto has stood out during testing times in the past and we should not give up on him.
What do you think? Post your comments below!