Player Analysis: Federico Dimarco, One That Inter Should Keep

Italy and defenders are two inseparable words when it comes to football. Unlike most footballing nations, the Azzurri see defending as a form of art and therefore place a huge value on their defenders. Such a cult has become ingrained in their style of play, earning them four World Cup trophies and, of course, the recent Euro 2020.

New to the list of great Italian defenders in the making is Inter left-sided Federico Dimarco who did very well in the Nerazzurri‘s first summer outing against Lugano on Saturday. Although a left-back by nature, the 23-year-old Italian has been an integral part of Verona’s back three system the past season, helping the Gialloblu to end the league with the sixth best defensive record in Serie A.

This scout report in collaboration with The Scouting App will delve deeper into Dimarco’s player profile, outlining his strengths and weaknesses, as well as analyze his performances of the 2020-21 Serie A season.

Player Overview

Dimarco’s football journey began in 2004 when the then a seven-year-old Italian joined Inter’s youth academy. After ten years of nurturing his footballing skills at youth level, the left-back was given the chance to pull on the first-team jersey as a substitute in the UEFA Europa League game against Qarabag in December 2014, aged 17.

After failing to get any game time for Inter in the first half of the 2015-16 season, Dimarco was sent out on loan to Serie B club Ascoli in January 2016. The Italian youngster quickly impressed the Ascoli head coach, as he made 15 appearances in the second half of the season and registered four assists.

After five successful months in Serie B, Dimarco returned to Serie A for the following season. The then 19-year-old left-back joined Empoli on a season-long loan but failed to establish himself in the starting eleven, making just 13 appearances that season. Two more loan spells followed at Swiss side Sion and then back to Serie A, where he spent a season with Parma.

The Italian returned to Inter ahead of the 2019-20 season but struggled for game time to the extent that he joined Verona in January 2020 on loan until the end of the season. After making a good impression in 13 appearances for the club, Dimarco’s loan was extended for the following season. In his second year at Verona, the Italian established himself as one of the key figures in defense, doubling his transfer value in less than a year.

Graphical representation of Dimarco’s transfer value over the years (Photo:

Player Profile

Dimarco is a 23-year-old left-footed defender who can play multiple positions across the back line and even in midfield; however, his most common position is left-back or left wing-back. The incredibly quick and versatile full-back is currently playing his sixth season in Serie A, although he had few opportunities to play in most years until his breakthrough this season. In that time, Dimarco has made a total of 77 appearances, scoring 5 goals and assisting his teammates 9 times.

The Italian can be described as a modern day attacking full-back who likes to run up and down the field all game. The ability to cover the ground at both ends of the pitch for defensive and offensive actions alike is one of the main features of Dimarco’s game, as can be seen in the image below.

The past season, Verona mostly played with a three-man defensive system and two wing-backs on either side. Dimarco’s versatility is evident here, as the Italian was used as both a left-sided center-back and a left wing-back, although the 3-4-2-1 system remained unchanged in most games.

Dimarco’s most common playing positions and the 2020/21 season heat map (Photo:

Dimarco is an attacking full-back, which means he was often involved in Verona’s attacks on the left side of the pitch. His attacking profile and the 3-4-2-1 tactical formation of a team – where the wing-backs were the only wide players – were a perfect match. For this reason, the 23-year-old Italian spent a lot of time in the attacking third area and even in the opposition penalty box. To back this up, Dimarco averaged 7 more touches in the attacking third than the rest of the league’s full-backs.

Dimarco often makes deep runs into the opposing half, making him a real threat in the attacking third

Tactical intelligence and understanding of the game are essential for any full-back, but this is especially true when we talk about wing-backs who have to cover an enormous amount of turf. Dimarco belongs to the group of full-backs who are intelligent in assessing their attacking options, whether it is distributing the ball or waiting to receive a pass in the zone. The Italian combines his physical attributes with tactical knowledge very well, as he has great awareness and knows when and where to run to put himself in the best possible position for a cross or a shot.

Dimarco plays one-two with his teammate and runs into space in the penalty area

For any attacking full-back, passing and crossing into the box are of paramount importance. Dimarco is capable of finding a pass between the lines and is overall one of the leading players when it comes to executing key passes. His cracking left foot immediately sets him apart from others, as Dimarco often looks to play a deadly ball or deliver a whipping cross into the opposition penalty area. The Italian is also a capable set-piece specialist, averaging the most dead-ball passes per game in Serie A at 13.96. Finally, the Verona full-back has an incredible striking ability that puts him in a position to score some incredible goals.

Dimarco plays a progressive pass

Serie A 2020-21 Season

The attacking nature of Dimarco can be well observed if we look at some of the key performance indicators from the past season. One of those metrics is ball carries. The Italian impresses in this department, having averaged 41.39 ball carries per 90 minutes, for a total carrying distance of 227.07. As a result, Dimarco shows good numbers in other areas as well such as progressive carries (avg. 5.36 per 90 min) and carries into the final third (avg. 2.01 per 90 min). It is worth noting that the defender beat the league average for all of these metrics when comparing all Serie A full-backs.

Carrying the ball long distances on its own can only do so much if the full-back is unable to progress the play by passing. The Italian does this particularly well when looking for his teammate in a dangerous position, which leads to a key pass. The 23-year-old topped the league table in this particular metric, averaging 2.37 key passes per 90 minutes – more than any other Serie A full-back. Although his overall pass rate of 70.3% was below the league average (Serie A avg. 78.3%), it may not be a huge problem considering that the Italian was able to find his teammates in dangerous positions more often than not, albeit with less accuracy.

Although the Verona full-back excelled on the offensive end, he was somewhat less impressive in the defensive side of things. The two areas of his defensive game where Dimarco needs to step up are tackling and aerial duels. The Italian on average wins only 0.71 tackles (Serie A avg. 0.99) and 34.2% of aerial duels per 90 minutes (Serie A avg. 49.4%).

Statistical analysis of Dimarco’s performances in 2020-21 Serie A season


All in all, Dimarco is a rather atypical Italian full-back. His incredible attacking prowess make him contradict the long-standing prejudice that Italian defenders lack flair and cannot be attack-minded. At 23, Dimarco has yet to receive a call up to the national team; however, if the full-back improves the defensive side of his game, he could well be in contention to make Italy’s squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, especially if he finally gets a chance to prove himself at Inter.