In recent seasons at Roma, too much depth and the manager having too many options has never been a problem. During the reign of Rudi Garcia, the attack, midfield, and defence typically consisted of the same names in each match. The same could be said for Luciano Spalletti, who never seemed to fancy turnover and is proving this once again at Inter.
Enter Eusebio Di Francesco, the contrarian to this recent theme. The former Sassuolo manager has had no problem embracing turnover and the results, up to now, seem to favor his preference of using a variety of players.
Roma’s depth has been a pleasant surprise this season, however, Di Francesco will now be forced to make difficult decisions. One area of the pitch where the Giallorossi seem to have a back-log of names is at the right-wing position, as Di Francesco has yet to find his first-choice name for the role. Stephan El Shaarawy, Gerson, Cengiz Ünder, and Gregoire Defrel have all been deployed in the position and now, it’s widely expected that Roma’s club record purchase from the summer, Patrik Schick, who recently returned from a long injury layoff, will be given an opportunity in the wide role.
Di Francesco has lamented in his recent press conferences that his side lacks a player on the right who possesses similar characteristics to the departed Mohammed Salah. The Egyptian, who is in sensational form at Liverpool this season, was not only able to score goals, but he also provided the Giallorossi with ample scoring opportunities and was able to take on defenders without any hesitation. None of the aforementioned players that Di Francesco has used in the right-wing role have shown the ability to pick up where Salah left off. Stephan El Shaarawy has, without doubt, been the strongest of the bunch, however, he still lacks the creative ability that Di Francesco seems to yearn for.
Patrik Schick is expected to be given the starting nod on the right in Roma’s upcoming league match against SPAL, despite admitting earlier this season that he’d prefer to play centrally as a striker. Given that Edin Dzeko’s place in Di Francesco’s side seems to be all but cemented, it doesn’t seem feasible that the youngster would find much space as a striker. Despite Schick’s apprehension, Di Francesco has continued to insist that the Czech attacker could be deployed out wide, while also conceding that the prospect of playing him alongside Dzeko is intriguing.
Given what we saw from Schick in his maiden season in Serie A with Sampdoria last year, it doesn’t seem like a far-fetched proposal to deploy the youngster as a winger. Schick has shown the ability to be able to take on defenders while also being able to create scoring opportunities for his teammates, as he finished last year with 13 goals and 5 assists in all competitions.
Regardless of who it is, the Giallorossi are desperate for continuity at the right-wing position. With a host of important matches arriving quickly, it will be crucial for Eusebio Di Francesco to find his answer at the position because Mohammed Salah is now nothing more than a memory in the Eternal City.