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What would an Italy with Ancelotti in charge look like?

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‘Carletto’ is by far the hottest name in the rumor mill for the Italy job, but how will the Azzurri pick up the pieces after?

There’s an incredibly long and arduous road ahead for the Italian national team and Italian football in general. I won’t lie to you, it’s a pretty daunting challenge that the Peninsula is up against. With the future uncertain, many positions at the federation yet to be secured, and the wounds still too fresh after Monday’s crushing defeat, it’s forseeable that sweeping reforms won’t come to pass until after the new year.

But under-fire FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio has said the federation will meet again on November 28th to ‘propose’ the name for the next head coach of the downtrodden Azzurri.

That’s a pretty big deal. If names are already being decided, other changes may be in the works. That also says Tavecchio may not be going anywhere and may have the backing to keep his job as the leader of the Italian FA.

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Tavecchio has been controversial since day one with inappropriate remarks and a less than glowing track-record, but he has been influential in making some small changes. Four homegrown players must be on the roster for Serie A teams, the bench was expanded to 25 instead of the old 18, Andrea Agnelli was elected the European Club Association President, and VAR was introduced to Serie A. He’s also been a heavy supporter on reducing the size of Serie A to 18 teams and could be open to allowing the creation of ‘B’ teams in the lower professional leagues. Nabbing Carlo Ancelotti as his third head coach appointment would be massive.

Carlo Ancelotti, a name that creates its own demand, is by far the fan favorite. He was the first and only coach to win the top five league titles in England, Italy, Germany, France and Spain. He’s also lifted the Champions League trophy three times. There’s no better coach out on the market right now and Tavecchio seems to be aiming for him. It’s a move that would make an immediate impact and while other reforms and programs will take time (many years) to feel the effects from, Ancelotti would be a big boost to the identity of the beleaguered four-time World Cup winners.

With so many of the senatori retiring, there is no back-bone to fall back to. No Buffon, De Rossi, Barzagli and perhaps even Chiellini to rely on when times get tough. It’s going to be a new-look Azzurri with many new names and new faces. To put it into context, the most experienced player ‘post-Apocalypse’ will be Leonardo Bonucci. Next would be Claudio Marchisio, if he returns to the fold, followed by Mattia De Sciglio. A new spine will have to be developed.

More so, there isn’t a coach as widely respected and revered as Ancelotti, and for an Italy side that nobody respects or is afraid of, that’s another good reason to chase down Carletto. Although he’s seen as the ‘big-club boss’ and has much more experience handling seasoned players, Italy needs him. The entire federation needs a blend of both immediate and long-term remedies. There are friendlies to be won that can boost their FIFA ranking for future draws, which we all know can make a huge difference when it counts. Preparations will need to be made for the next qualifying campaign for Euro 2020, rebuilding the confidence of the nation will also be key.

Ancelotti, assuming he is hired, will need to have the support of the federation. If he is to assume the responsibility of rebuilding a fallen-giant, what he wants must be given and the reforms proposed must be at the very least considered. This is all of course, speculation, but it would show the FIGC have a plan.

There is an abundance of raw talent in the talent pipeline. It remains to be seen if the likes of Vittorio Parigini, Riccardo Orsolini or Federico Chiesa can make the jump from starlet to superstar. It’s foreseeable that Carletto or any coach for that matter would give them a chance. After all, they’ve been immense for Luigi Di Biagio’s Azzurrini side.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, many new names could be entered into the fray full time.  Gianluigi Donnarumma will likely be handed the spot between the posts. Davide Zappacosta and Leonardo Spinazzola could be the initial starting wingbacks while Leonardo Bonucci and one of many youngsters occupy the middle of the defense.

Lorenzo Pellegrini, Roberto Gagliardini would likely be the anchors of the midfield, allowing Marco Verratti to roam more freely than he did in Ventura’s system. With Ancelotti in command it’s unlikely a two man midfield will be deployed again – thankfully.

Other players who would be happy are Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi and the aforementioned trio of youngsters. I firmly believe they will all be given an adequate chance to make an impact on the senior side. A potential loser would be one of the #9 style strikers as only one would play. Which may not be a bad thing given how things spiraled out of control the last 4 months.

While there are many names being thrown around out there, Carlo remains the ideal tier-1 target. The hopes of a nation, a people, rest on his appointment.

 

@ItalianFD

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