Scout’s Corner: Simone Verdi
|Born: 12 July, 1992
Height: 1.71m (6 ft 6in)
Position: Trequartista / second striker / winger
Worth: 2.5m €
Current Club: Torino (on loan from AC Milan)
| Simone Verdi has been one of the few original graduates of the Milan academy (as against players bought from other clubs into the Milan youth setup) who has risen through the ranks. Verdi joined Milan at the age of 11 but 2009-10 was his breakthrough season with the Primavera (U19) squad. Verdi was part of the Milan Primavera team that went on to lift the Primavera Cup competition. (Just for reference, the last Milan team to do so had a 15 year old Paolo Maldini in its ranks). Verdi’s performance in the final was exceptional where he scored a fantastic goal and mesmerized the entire defense to assist on the second goal.It was thought to be the breakthrough moment for the then 17 year old prodigy who is affectionately called Verdinho for his obvious samba like skills. He had made his senior Milan debut a month back and even though he hadn’t set the scene alight for the senior team, it was thought that the Primavera Cup win will propel his senior career too. He was incorporated as part of the senior team for the 2010-11 season but didn’t get to make any appearance in a competitive fixture. He did lead the Milan primavera team to the final knockout rounds of the Primavera championship and shone in several friendly matchesfor the senior team.It was felt that his progress was not as per expectations and probably he needed a stronger competition in a more demanding environment to fully hone his skills. With this in mind, Verdi was sent to Serie B side Torino on a co-ownership deal at the start of 2011-12 season. Though Serie A start was delayed with a player association boycott, Serie B did start on time and on his debut for Torino away to Ascoli, Verdi put on a show which mesmerized the faithful and left a marker that his growth is on track. Regular workouts with Torino in Serie B will help him mature and especially in a position that Italy has not had standout performers lately – as a winger who can run through the defense on his speed and dribbling abilities alone. His ability to drift in and be equally effective was shown in the penalty he earned for Torino in the match against Ascoli.
Verdi has so far played 8 matches for the Italy U19 with 2 goals and 5 assists. The record doesn’t speak in glowing terms yet but the promise and style in his play shows that this is a player to watch out for. His immediate future remains away from Milan and probably a couple of seasons in Serie B are required. So keep your eyes trained on Serie B this season to catch Verdinho in action.
Scouting Network identifies young players under the age of 21 who have exceptional talent and could be one of the leading players of the future. This month GoaldenTimes profiles Michael Domingoes