As I sat down to watch the enticing PSG vs Chelsea game in London, my eyes were all on Marco Verratti. He is the fabled “heir to Andrea Pirlo”, the only youngster who has the vision and skill to have that expectation branded upon him. However, with the World Cup set to kick off in 67 days for Gli Azzurri it seems that Verratti is running out of time to make his statement that would launch him into Cesare Prandelli’s plans.
He struggled to make an impact on the game, commit rash fouls, and nearly gave away a penalty, I then realized that he is simply not the right man to bring to Brazil. On the grandest stage football has to offer there is very little room for the errors that Verratti made against Chelsea. In addition, Italy doesn’t have exactly a cakewalk group either, featuring England, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
I thought of at least three reasons at to why he should sit out this World Cup and continue to strive until 2018 where he has a much better chance of rocking the world than he does now.
Perhaps one of the more stereotypical traits about Marco is that he has a true southern Italian’s temper. He’s constantly yelling and arguing with officials, getting in the face of players, and has been the culprit of bad challenges on more occasions than a man can count. He needs to mature, 2018 sounds like a much better time in terms of personal development. Including the possibility that he can feature in World Cups realistically until 2026 (He would be then 33 years old). There is no reason to rush him into a World Cup, given the fact he is only 21.
Lack of experience in big games
Not to doubt his talent or ability, however at the tender age of 21, he simply has not made enough of an impact on the pitch yet. He’s failed to score this season at PSG, albeit he’s racked up 8 assists. In addition to that, PSG has incredible firepower in front of him in attack, something that Italy can’t offer in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edison Cavani.
He’s only appeared 4 times for the senior Azzurri side, his lack of experience on the national level is unquestionable, whether you blame him or Prandelli is your prerogative, but consider this; In Marcello Lippi’s failed 2010 World Cup, his squad featured 8 players that had less than 10 caps. Inexperience does not usually couple well with Italian sides on the big stage and 2010 was a prime reason (as well as numerous other factors) as to why the Azzurri need to have a fully seasoned side heading to South America in June.
Already crowded midfield
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for Verratti to break into the final 23-man squad for Brazil is the fact that Italy has a plethora of very technical, experienced midfielders already established into Prandelli’s gameplan. With Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo and Giaccherini virtually locked into the squad, this leaves very little room for Marco to make his way onto the plane. Even for the fringe-players list there is no shortage. Candreva, Thiago Motta, Aquilani, Diamanti, Florenzi, Poli and even Parolo have a legitimate shot at the roster, they all play in Serie A (Outside of Diamanti) which gives them a geographical advantage over Verratti for Prandelli to observe.
No Matter what happens in two months for Marco Verratti, his future is as bright as a diamond. The sky is the limit for the former Pescara playmaker, and I am sure that he will be lifting many trophies in the years to come.