In a crushing 4-0 victory against SPAL this weekend, Milan are truly starting to prove their worth after spending over €200 million in the summer transfer market, however it is the youth academy graduate Patrick Cutrone making the headlines for the Rossoneri after another fine performance saw him score his first Serie A double.
In what was a disappointing and underwhelming season for Milan up until Gennaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella as manager, there has been one consistent high for the Rossoneri fans this season – and that is twenty year-old Patrick Cutrone, who has delivered all season for his boyhood club.
Cutrone has made the headlines in Serie A this season with fantastic individual performances and he is now being tipped to be the man to take Milan and Italy back to the glory days of old.
Observed as one of Italy’s most promising youngsters, Cutrone’s biggest strengths are his clinical finishing, physical strength and his presence inside the penalty area. In addition to this, his technical ability and aerial strength have made him a great target man for the Rossoneri and a key player for Gattuso despite being only 20 years old.
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Cutrone is a product of the famous Milan Youth Academy that has seen the likes of Franco Baresi, Demetrio Albertini and Paolo Maldini have their careers launched from. If Cutrone receives the right coaching at Milan and has a successful team built around him, he could very well be remembered in the same light as players such as Maldini.
Despite only turning 20 in January, Cutrone has near enough established himself as Milan’s starting striker over Nikola Kalinić, an experienced player, and André Silva whom Cristiano Ronaldo has named as his heir. The consistency of Cutrone has ultimately shown him to be a more reliable choice than Kalinić and Silva as the Italian has delivered for Milan this season despite the team not living up to expectations.
Furthermore, even though he is only twenty years old, Cutrone is proving extremely popular with fans due to his passion and commitment to play for the team; it is rare in the modern game to see a young player play with such genuine emotion and wear his heart on his sleeve.
The Como-born striker started off the season well in Milan’s Europa League qualifier and play-off scoring against CSU Craiova and Shkëndija. He also showed that he was capable of scoring in Serie A when he buried his first Serie A goal on the opening day of the season in a 3-0 victory over Crotone. In addition to this, Cutrone has played well in the Europa League scoring three times in the competition and forming a dangerous partnership with André Silva that has seen the two score a combined nine goals between them in six games during the Group Stages.
Cutrone’s ability to play in a partnership up-front shows that he is a complete forward and that he provides more options going forward for Milan due to his versatility. Despite scoring against opposition that will never pose a threat to the red and black, Cutrone has shown that he is able to deliver against the bigger opponents as he hit the back of the net against Lazio – and produced what will have been his finest moment in his short career so far.
Cutrone’s late derby winner in the Coppa Italia Quarter-Final against city rivals Inter with the score at 0-0 and penalties looming was nothing short of remarkable; a finish off a wonderful cross from Suso to book Milan’s appearance in the Semi-Finals of the tournament.
“Cutrone’s got this venom inside him when he gets close to the goal; he reminds me of Pippo.”
Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso has already praised Cutrone heavily, but after the youngster scored twice against SPAL, he went to even greater lengths and compared him to club legend Filippo Inzaghi.
Cutrone being compared to Super Pippo shows the talent the young man possesses, yet he has already shown with his instincts inside the penalty area and his deadly eye for goal why the comparisons aren’t so foolish to make.
The former Primavera standout has made a name for himself with the Italian Under-21’s team this season as well, scoring four times in five games. With Gigi Di Biagio taking charge of the senior Azzurri team for two upcoming friendlies, it could provide an opportunity to give Cutrone his first senior appearance for the National Team as the youngster has the potential to go on to do great things for both club and country. Establishing a role for him with the Blues will help his development as he will be able to learn from the likes of Ciro Immobile and Mario Balotelli; two players who can advise him to put football first to develop into the player he can become.
In recent years, Italy has been criticised for failing to produce players who are of the same caliber of former generations. However, with Milan boasting promising young Italians such as Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessio Romagnoli, Cutrone should stay at the Rossoneri as the project in place will most certainly allow him to flourish into a world class forward.
A large number of football fans are starting to take notice of Patrick Cutrone and many neutrals that want to see Milan return to prominence know that he is one of the players who can help author a new era of success. He has begun living up to the hype surrounding him, solidifying his place in the Milan team and providing vital goals for his beloved club when they are needed most. With both his club and country in the midst of a rebuild, an entire nation of fans will be hoping that one day Cutrone can bring Milan and Italy back to the top of world football.