Juventus rejuvenated by Young Talent
Juventus beat Chievo 4-0 on Saturday, the club’s 12th win in a row. After struggling to deal with squad changes early in the season, Juventus was in 12th place only two months ago with a measly 3 wins in 10 matches in the Italian Serie A. They now sit in second place, two points behind Napoli.
Early in the season, Juventus’s manager Massimiliano Allegri’s job was under threat after he let go of former stars Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez during the summer transfer window. He was also criticized for not doing enough to bring to fruition the plentiful young talent he had at his disposal, the Palmero President Maurizio Zamparini stating that “Allegri is on track to ruin Dybala.”
Despite losing three key players in one transfer window, Allegri has managed to overcome the summer overhaul and the early season tumult where his club was adapting to a new system and new teammates. Allegri has also been praised for using the youth of the team to revitalize the squad and bring energy to an ailing side.
Alvaro Morata (23), Paulo Dybala (22), Alex Sandro (25) and Paul Pogba (22), have been the youth key to Juventus’s run of form. All three have put together excellent performances, with a combined 22 goals and 17 assists this season in all competitions. Although Morata and Sandro have only recently been included in the squad on a regular basis, all four players have developed well this season and shown their true talent and potential.
Dybala and Pogba have been especially excellent this year, creating 30 goals in all competitions, 20 of which come from Dybala’s 12 goals and 8 assists in 17 appearances. Dybala has proved himself to be a prolific striker and important playmaker after last year’s somewhat dull performances. Pogba, meanwhile, has been great as both a holding midfielder and an attacking, box-to-box player who creates chances through the middle and exploits the defense with dribbling down the wing. Both players have been linked with moves to the Premier League and La Liga because of their exceptional performances, but for now they will continue to be the key to Juventus’s success in attack.
Much of Allegri’s success can be attributed to his mentorship system – old veterans who are able to show their successors the reigns of the team and the playing style of the Serie A.
Gianluigi Buffon’s leadership is undoubtedly the strongest at the club. Already a club legend, the 38 year old Italian World Cup Winner has stayed devoted to the club even when Juventus were relegated to the Serie B in 2006. Young players in every position look up to him.
In defense, Daniele Rugani, who has recently been able to break into the squad and has been called the “future of Juventus” by Allegri, has the mentorship of Patrice Evra, Giorgio Chiellini and Stephan Lichtsteiner, three great defenders who are definitely capable of developing the young talent of Rugani. Lichsteiner is a great attacking threat down the right wing and can teach Rugani the ways of the Juventus attack, while Evra and Chiellini can teach Rugani to be rigid in the face of the blistering attacking forces of the Serie A.
In the midfield, Paul Pogba, Roberto Pereyra and Alex Sandro have the mentorship of Sami Khedira, a more defensive minded holding midfielder, and Claudio Marchisio, who isn’t afraid to join the attack. This duel mindedness of Juventus’s midfield will allow their youngsters to learn to adapt to the different tactics of each game and be able to play at both ends of the field.
Finally, Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala can look up to Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado, both of whom are experienced strikers and can play in a defensive and counterattacking style or a possession based game, prolific in the air and technical on the ground. Mandzukic can also help them learn to play more centrally, while Cuadrado can exemplify the role of a winger on the team.
Allegri’s system allows for a highly adaptable squad where younger players learn to play in different styles, both defensively and in attack, from their older mentors. Allegra has found the perfect balance between achieving success for the current squad and making sure the team has a bright future full of potential superstars. Juventus are poised to take control of the Serie A and continue their dominance of Italian football.