If the truth of the matter is, nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past – then for the greater good of Milan and the Italian national team for that matter, Mattia De Sciglio needs to return to his native and more familiar right back role.
When looking at the two Milan academy products, there are far too many similarities between the young Italian star and the club legend, baring in mind there progression at parallel ages.
Physically, the two are comparable, with only a sole inch separating the defenders and distinct lanky frames. But the similarities don’t end there. They share as well, years of learning with youth squads from the Giovanissimi to the more elder Allievi programs. As well, both are natives to the northern capital which makes their affiliation to the club an even more majestic story to hope for.
In addition to physical and cultural comparisons there are also technical duplications that have seem to occurred. Both possess natural right feet, that are deployed on the left flank, and another notable mention is their above average ability with their left foot. They also share very important characteristics with great man marking abilities to almost ballet like tackling.
What needs to be addressed is the very obvious and sad realization that their eras have needed far different players.
As modern football goes, width and fullbacks are an integral part of what allows teams to be more imposing on attacking fronts. While being threatening on one front, does not mean your own half cannot be left unattended. Where Maldini had the fortune to be surrounded by world class individuals like Franco Baresi, Mauro Tassotti, and “Billy” Costacurta, De Sciglio is forced to take a side that was never really his to begin with, just to allow Ignazio Abate to continue to call the right side of the pitch his own.
Furthermore it’s ongoing with the Italian national team for even more unnatural right backs, such as Alessandro Florenzi, and at times Antonio Candreva who is for certain not in the correct position. Even with positional mechanics and tactical schemes to bare in mind, it is not aiding De Sciglio’s development. Comfort is an underestimated and crucial element that in any walk of life, from love to business, and in this context football, that is more often than not gone unnoticed.
Let the boy, who is closer to being a man, be who he needs to be, and not who all the nostalgic football viewers wish he can be. While the legend and the future can be compared, the young wingback is distinct in his own style and must be left with expectations of only surpassing himself – and for that, confidence from his coach and stability in his role are a must.