As the International break has kicked off, Gattuso’s men (except eleven of them) have enjoyed a good recovery week at Milanello ahead of the clash with Cagliari next weekend.
In addition to this, the Rossoneri have been brought good news as Andrea Conti, who’s been injured for just about a year, is closing in on a return.
The right-back injured himself in September last year, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee, coincidentally during the International break. For the 24-year-old, this meant six months in the stands, while a surgery was carried out almost immediately.
However, having successfully returned to training in March 2018, AC Milan announced that Andrea Conti had suffered yet another injury to his left knee. Fortunately, specialists excluded rupture of the reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament, but the set-back meant another six months in the recovery phase.
The Rossoneri perhaps learned a lesson from the first time out, and thus no risks have been taken in relation to Conti’s recovery, with the player’s agent being very clear on the matter.
“His return? There isn’t much time left in this season so his focus is on next year. He hasn’t played in a long time and we won’t take any risks,” said Mario Guiffredi back in March.
In fact, the recovery has reportedly been very successful so far, and it’s expected that Conti could return to fully playing at the end of October. With that said, Gattuso will be faced with a tough decision to make; Calabria vs. Conti.
As perhaps a blessing in disguise, Davide Calabria took his chance with great confidence, replacing the injured man in the starting eleven. The youngster quickly became an important piece of the Kessie-Suso combination, bursting down the right-hand side to offer support up front.
With an ageing Abate being the only competitor for the position, it’s safe to say that Calabria hasn’t always been put under great pressure. Despite this, he has managed to keep up the motivation by constantly putting in good shifts, even contributing with goals as of late. Therefore, it should be noted that even though Conti is a better player on paper, there is a lot of uncertainty as to who will properly cement their place in the lineup.
This has much to do with the fact that no one really knows the condition of Conti, and whether he will be able to return back to the form that brought him to Milan. After so much time since his last performance, Conti will certainly not have the upper hand from start, but from there on it will be a test for both fullbacks to see who holds up the best.
Given how important both could be for the team, it won’t be an easy decision for Gennaro Gattuso to make, but with three competitions up and running very soon, Conti’s return will certainly add important depth to the team. With that said, it will interesting to see who gets the nod, with Calabria becoming somewhat of a Gattuso favourite. In addition to this, Milan will not want to rush Conti back into play and this will give Calabria further opportunities to prove his worth to the team.
The fans are very divided on the matter as some seem to think that Conti will outshine Calabria straight away, while others believe that the latter is more important than first thought. In the end, however, Gattuso will have the final word, although the decision-making will most likely leave him with a headache.
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