After yet another toothless display against Portugal, Azzurri fans are crying for a fresh start in the final third. Something clearly needs to change as it’s the first time in Italy’s illustrious history that they go winless in six consecutive home games. With the side struggling for goals, Italy boss Roberto Mancini has tried everything to get his side firing again.
When the false-nine experiment with Lorenzo Insigne didn’t quite pan out, the former Inter tactician reinstated Ciro Immobile into the fold. While the Lazio man is prolific at club level, he’s yet to translate that form in Azzurro blu and has a mere seven goals in 35 appearances for the national team, most of which came against second-tier sides. As Italy look to restore themselves as a European superpower on the international scene, it’s time to start anew and give Milan’s Patrick Cutrone a shot at the role.
In the past, Immobile and Andrea Belotti have been given an opportunity to make the number nine spot their own, yet have regularly failed to impressed when tasked with leading the line. Other than not finding the back of the net, they both rarely involved themselves in the buildup and typically cut a frustrated figure until they were eventually subbed off. While both have demonstrated they have a keen eye for goal in Serie A, neither of them has demonstrated they have the character to play for Italy and went missing in action in Gli Azzurri’s crucial game against Sweden.
With the rest of the side slowly coming together, the last piece of the puzzle for Mancini is figuring out the blueprint in the final third. Since assuming control of the team, his midfield trio of Jorginho, Barella and Verratti have largely impressed while the defence has never been a worry. Up top, however, uncertainty still reigns supreme.
Other than Insigne, who’s having the best season of his professional career, the striker and right wing position are largely toss-ups. With that being said, Mancini has gone with youth out wide and has entrusted the role to Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa. While there will be some growing pains, this is a move that will pay off for the Azzurri in the long-term.
Mancini should do the same with the striker position and turn to Cutrone. As there is no Italian striker currently worthy of regular minutes, the Italy boss would be wise to turn to Milan’s prolific striker and develop him for Euro 2020. The 20-year-old has represented Italy across all levels and has been scoring goals for the national team since the U-15s. Granted, the senior setup is a completely different beast, however, Cutrone has always shown he can find the back of the net with limited service throughout his time with Milan.
This season, Cutrone has three goals in one Europa League start and two goals in just three Serie A starts. With guys like Udinese’s Kevin Lasagna getting a look-in, there’s no reason why Cutrone shouldn’t be among Mancini’s 23 next time around. Flanked by Insigne and Chiesa and supported by a highly-technical midfield, Cutrone could do serious damage. After all, it’s what he’s done his entire career.