Ever since making his Milan debut back in September 2011, in a UEFA Champions League group stage match nonetheless, Mattia De Sciglio has had a difficult first few seasons for the club where he has played his entire youth and professional career. Back in the 2012-2013 season, De Sciglio earned 3 assists and averaged a 7.28 rating for his first full season at Milan, via WhoScored.com. Many Milanisti, including myself, thought the young Italian international was destined to become a great player and fix Milan’s fullback woes for the next decade. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case thus far. In the next two seasons, he would only make a total of 33 appearances earning no assists. Instead of developing, De Sciglio was declining and the constant injuries he suffered weren’t helping either. The Italian fullback would also be chosen for Italy’s World Cup roster last summer where he was extremely disappointing to say the least as was the rest of the Azzurri squad during the international tournament.
At the age of 22, De Sciglio has plenty of time to improve and turn his career around. To his credit, previous Milan coaches Massimilano Allegri, Clarence Seedorf, and Filippo Inzaghi, would mostly use the young Italian fullback on the left flank. De Sciglio is capable of playing on both flanks, but in my eyes, he performs much better when he’s playing on the right flank rather than on the left. He seems to be much more comfortable where he isn’t forced to cut in allowing him to cross the ball with his right foot. Also, he’s able to contribute much more to the attack. He has extraordinary pace and can put in a cross for the strikers to pounce on. Whereas when he’s playing on the left side, his play is predictable and most of time the opposing defenders are able to read exactly what he’s going to do.
Other than his attacking ability, his defensive ability is noticeable as well. According to WhoScored.com, he averaged 2.9 tackles a game from 25 matches for Milan in the 2012-2013 Serie A campaign. He showed fantastic discipline that season at such a young age of only 19 years old. Sadly, the following two seasons would diagram this discipline to quickly deteriorate where he was sent off the pitch a total three of times and gathering a total of six yellow cards. What was once a potential future superstar to most Milanisti now became a player that may never show signs of improvement in many fans’ minds.
Luckily for Mattia De Sciglio, new Milan coach Siniša Mihajlović seems to recognize the potential of the young Italian fullback and wants to get De Sciglio back on the right track this season. In Milan’s pre-season campaign, the Milan youth player has been settling in nicely to Mihajlović’s new tactical setup and is understanding the role he needs to play every time he’s called upon. He’s mostly been used on the right flank, where again, I think he is most effective and able to perform much better than when he plays on the left flank. The most important improvement I have noticed from De Sciglio is his confidence seems to be returning. This is the result of having a coach that has plenty of faith in him as a player and being selected knowing exactly what his role is for the team.
For this season, De Sciglio needs to stay healthy and consistent. Milan have shown their trust in the player by rejecting the advances of any clubs that may have been interested in him domestically and abroad. It’s now time the young Italian repays the club’s faith by having a successful season for them. He will be under pressure too as Ignazio Abate has just signed a contract extension tying him to the San Siro until June 30, 2019. Also, waiting in the ranks is Milan’s 18 year old youth product, Davide Calabria, who has also been very impressive during Milan’s pre-season campaign this summer. De Sciglio will need to have a bounce back season if he’s to keep his spot in the stating lineup. Right now, he seems to be the favorite for the right-back position, but this can change at anytime, especially if he was to start showing signs of inconsistency once again. For Mattia, myself, like many other Milanisti, the hope is he can have a fantastic season for Milan and show us he is the player we all think he should be. In his favor, he has a great coach backing him, plenty of support from the fans, and faith from the club that introduced him to the world. Now, the ball is in De Sciglio’s court to either run with it or fail in his efforts.
2015-16, a make or break season for the young Mattia De Sciglio.