One to Watch: Nicolò Rovella, a Star in the Making for Both Club and Country

This week has seen the best youth sides from around Europe gather in Hungary and Slovenia as they contested the U-21 European Championships Group Stage.

On show as usual were a number of potential breakout stars but this tournament has prompted some nations to call up established first team youth players in order to try and secure victory in this precocious tournament as well as offer more experience on the international stage with the senior competition right around the corner.

Italy boast a couple of potential stars themselves who could look to force their way into Mancini’s thoughts for the summer. The two names that immediately jump out are Sandro Tonali and current hype machine Gianluca Scamacca.

But one other player that has all the potential to become a force is recent Juventus signing Nicolò Rovella.

Rovella has long been on the radar of Italy’s biggest clubs, with both Milan sides showing an interest in his earlier teen years only to see their bids turned away with the midfielder looking to stay at Genoa to progress his career.

Although he has only made 16 appearances to date (5 appearances have been since his move to Juventus, who loaned him immediately back to Genoa after securing his transfer) his talent is abundantly clear.

Playing as a deep lying defensive midfielder, but with ability and athleticism that allow him to play all over, Rovella loves to get on the ball and plays with a wonderful elegance, whilst showing he is not shy of the dirty work closing down opponents quickly and winning the ball back.

This season, Rovella’s numbers although from a small number of games really show he belongs at the top level. His passing is his calling card. The central midfielder has in his locker the ability to make every pass at every level whilst making it seem effortlessly easy.

So far Rovella has attempted 511 passes and has landed 435 of these giving him an accuracy rating of 85.1% with no one pass type dominating another, highlighting his ability to decipher the situation and deliver the pass that is required.

Going forward, the Genoa loanee is creating 1.64 opportunities per 90 mins this season. An area that the young man can certainly work on but shows great promise and the chance to line up with more creative and deadly attackers will see that number increase. Rovella has shown a slight tendency to hold on to the ball in these areas or play backwards. Yet to net a goal at senior level, the Italian youth international shows an ability to break into the box late to latch onto attempts and should only be a matter of time till he gets his name on the scoresheet.

Defensively, the midfielder has shown great promise breaking up play in across the pitch or making key interceptions (8) ahead of the three center-backs. In the box, Rovella displays good instincts and bravery to throw himself in front of opposition chances making 16 blocks so far.

Finally, Rovella is his side’s chief set piece taker when on the pitch. From his days in the youth side, he has shown a wonderful ability to deliver teasing crosses into the as well as scoring impressive long range strikes.

Italy’s current midfield options are deep with Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolò Barella and Marco Verratti vying for a spot in the engine room but such is the ability and talent of Nicolò Rovella that after the U-21 tournament the midfielder might have the ability to become a key feature of his nations midfield.