Welcome to our Roberto Gagliardini 2020/21 report card. As part of our post-season coverage, we’ll be dishing out grades and analyzing every Inter player’s season.
If nothing else, Roberto Gagliardini is one of the most reliable players on Inter’s rosters. Every time you see him on the pitch, you know what’s coming: mediocre on the ball, decent in defense, and a wonder-goal sprinkled in every now and then to keep you guessing. Welcome to the Gagliardini show.
Games Played: 33 (18 starts, 1,566 minutes)
What went right this season?
Everyone’s favorite midfielder (right? right??) clearly had a soft spot in Antonio Conte’s heart. He was a frequent starter in the first few months of the season or the first sub off the bench when Inter was defending a lead. While he did give Inter a more defensive presence in midfield, it came at a cost. Gagliardini’s entrance in Inter’s away UCL game against Real Madrid was particularly fatal. The score was tied at 2-2 and Inter had all of the momentum when the Italian was brought off the bench. But his cameo paved the way for Los Blancos’ game-winner moments after the sub and robbed Inter of all its mojo. Similar situations played out on multiple occasions throughout the season, albeit without conceding a goal.
This was supposed to the section about what Gagliardini did well, wasn’t it? Oops. Luckily we still have time to get back on track. Despite his unfortunate substitutions, Gagliardini could be trusted not to commit any errors and fit into Inter’s style of play under Conte. He was a solid contributor from Matchday 1 to 38 and made the 13-most appearances in Serie A. Gagliardini was rarely injured and played an important role in wins over Benevento, Sassuolo, and Sampdoria. He wasn’t a flashy player but he did the job.
Gagliardini also conjured some moments of magic out of the blue moments scattered throughout the season. Perhaps his best game came in Inter’s 5-2 victory over Benevento. Gagliardini notched a goal and an assist, including this volleyed pearl.
Great goal from Gagliardini 2-0! pic.twitter.com/tY6AR24Ecv— SM1LEY9 (@Smiley_1932) September 30, 2020
What does he need to improve on?
Gagliardini’s technical shortcomings are well known but he’s also too reactive rather than proactive. Contrary to Inter’s other midfielders, he never takes over a game and instead frequently becomes a passenger. Perhaps it’s telling all of Inter’s most important wins came with Gagliardini on the bench.
What role will he play in 2021/22?
It’s up to Simone Inzaghi, who is a reported admirer of the 27-year-old, to find a way to get more out of him. It’s not Gagliardini’s fault that Conte subbed in on at inopportune times and he can still do the job against weaker sides and every team needs depth.