Scouting Network – Stephan El Shaarawy
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 Stephan El Shaarawy
Date of Birth: 27.10.1992
Place of Birth: Savona, Italy
Club: AC Milan
Height: 1.78 m
Nationality: Italy, Egypt
Market Value: €7m
There is a sense of destiny about Stephan El Shaarawy.
A particular numerology site actually lists him with having #9 associated to him and says “He is the righter of wrongs“. For those who do not believe in the occult and would like to have much more concrete proof, check out these facts.El Shaarawy, nicknamed Il Faraone (The Pharaoh), given his Egyptian heritage (his father is Egyptian while his mother is Italian), is the fourth youngest player ever to play in Serie A. Starting in the Genoa youth system, he led the Primavera team to Primavera Cup, Primavera Super Cup in 2008-09 season and Primavera Scudetto in 2009-10. Realizing that he is destined for bigger things, Enrico Preziosi, the Genoa president loaned him out to Padova in Serie B. As an 18-year-old, he led Padova to the Serie A promotion play-offs against Novara. In that match, an unfortunate red card to Padova defender Cesar, led to El Shaarawy being sacrificed as the substitute for a new defender. Ultimately Padova would lose that play-off but El Shaarawy’s performance over the 2010-11 season with Padova (9 goals and 2 assists in 30 matches) won him the year-end best player in Serie B award in the annual Calcio Oscars. At the age of 19, he has played for every Italian team he has been eligible for – U16, U17, U18, U19, and now has debuted for the U-21. At every stage, he has scored at least one goal barring the U-21.
Tales of his talent were well known in the peninsula and Milan was especially aware of it, being the team that Genoa Primavera beat in the Super Coppa. Adriano Galliani, Milan’s #2 man after President Silvio Berlusconi, had already made an attempt to sign him in 2010 but Preziosi rebuffed him. Finally in 2011, on the back of his show for Padova, Milan coerced Preziosi to co-own Shaarawy. It was expected that he would be loaned out to gain first team experience. But somehow it didn’t materialise. Milan had a debilitating injury crisis at the start of the season and The Pharaoh made his debut as a substitute, in a losing cause at Napoli. He would come on as a substitute 3 days later when Alex Pato was injured in the 29th minute against Udinese at home and Milan losing 1-0. That day, El Shaarawy would save the Milan blushes with his first ever Serie A goal. However, with the stars returning for Milan, the opportunities would dry up and further talks of move away from Milan in January transfer window would arise. But opportunity in a friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain in January showed once again what he offers. Further injuries to strikers would force Massimiliano Allegri to start El Shaarawi against his old nemesis Novara. Twice in a week, in a cup pre-quarter final and Serie A he would be instrumental in Milan’s win against Novara. The defeat with Padova would be avenged. There would be further evidence of his growing reputation in the Cup quarter final win from behind against Lazio, especially his assist to Clarence Seedorf. Each subsequent match that he would play for Milan would only reinforce that reputation.
Padova’s director of sport Rino Foschi is not surprised. “El Shaarawy is a phenomenon, a special player. When Galliani called me before taking him, I said he is the strongest in his age group in all European leagues. He could be much more important in a few years than what Carlos Tevez (Milan’s #1 transfer target in January) is“.
Given how the Pharaoh is progressing, it wouldn’t be long before Foschi’s forecast turns out to be true.