AS Roma may not have won any titles this season, but if anything is to be taken from their incredible year, it is the youth movement that has taken place in the eternal city. Several young players have performed admirably when called upon for Rudi Garcia’s side this season, and will be strong candidates for developing into key contributors for the Capitoline Wolves in the near future. Here are a few names to watch out for next season:
Signed in the preseason from Polish side Górnik Zabrze, he comes as one of Poland’s top goalkeeper prospects, representing them at the U-21 level and making one appearance for the senior side. Skorupski managed to usurp former Romanian stalwart Bogdan Lobont as the second goalkeeper behind Morgan De Sanctis. Despite this, he only took part in a single match, a Coppa Italia round of 16 victory against Sampdoria, but he managed to keep a clean sheet on his debut. Possibly a number one for the future, he has tremendous potential.
Brought in at the winter transfer window as Nico Burdisso’s replacement, Toloi has impressed when filling in for Castan and Benatia at centre back. There is no doubt that Roma will attempt to sign him on a permanent basis (he is on loan from Brazillian side Sao Paolo). He is quick, agile and quite strong when entering challenges. Also a potent free kick taker, he scored a fabulous Roberto Carlos-esque strike while playing for Sao Paolo. His best performance was in the recent fixture against AC Milan – there is a reason why Balotelli was incapable of scoring that match, and his name was Toloi.
The highly touted young Croatian defender has only featured in a brief cameo (ten minutes), but he is only 18 years of age and has a lot of time to develop. Jedvaj cost the club five million euros in last summer’s transfer window with much competition for his signing coming from Arsenal amongst other clubs. Pacey, tenacious, aggressive and agile, he can play anywhere on the back line. He has featured the least out of the players on this list but has the greatest star potential of all of them.
A central defender who has adapted to the flanks, he has played a prominent role while others in his role were out with injury. Not one to roam, his style suits the left sided wingers Gervinho and Michel Bastos who are free to weave in and out of defenders. Reliable, responsible and consistent in the air, he broke into the club’s main squad as an 18-year old under Zeman – look to him as the breakthrough player next year on the defensive line as he matures. Oh, and he also happens to be Roman.
Brought on for Francesco Totti on multiple occasions, he is a diminutive attacking midfielder who will look to contribute from the bench next year in a bigger role. An impact player who strives to create, he has a twin brother, Matteo, currently on loan in the lower tiers of Italian football.
In his third season with the club, Dodo has regressed, despite earning the starting spot at left-back with the injury to Federico Balzaretti. Arguably his worst performance came against Juventus in which two of the goals came from his flank – he will need to improve if he wants to remain next season. With rumours of Aleksander Kolarov being targeted by the Giallorossi, it is essential that Dodo puts on a good display in the remaining fixtures. It could be that like Gareth Bale his talents could be put to better use if he were to be converted into an attacking winger, something Rudi Garcia has experimented with to some extent.
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