Abate speaks of Milan’s future prospects ahead of Youth League semi-final

By Ben Dixon -

Ahead of Friday’s Youth League semi-final fixture against Porto, AC Milan’s Primavera coach, Ignazio Abate has spoken to the media about his feelings ahead of the game, and the progression that some of his players could make to the senior side.

The current crop of youth talent in the Milan ranks is exceptional, and this has shown in Europe this season, as the side have reached the semi-final of the academy version of the Champions League, and for several players, the sky is the limit.

Their season has been one filled with positivity, boosted by the debuts of several members of the squad in the senior Rossoneri sides – look to Francesco Camarda, Kevin Zeroli and Jan-Carlo Simic, for example.

Of course, all thoughts today will be about the fixture, and the opportunity for the side to reach the final of such a prestigous competition. However, you would be forgiven for thinking ahead to the future of the squad, given so many are expected to eventually grow into the senior side.

Ahead of the clash, Abate spoke to MilanTV about the opposition and the emotions attached to his role, and his words have been relayed by MilanNews.

A match that makes us proud…

“We are proud and happy to be able to play these matches and face foreign teams with different mentalities and top-level youth sectors. For us it is a source of growth and motivation to make the Final Four for the second year in a row. Tomorrow we will go and play there to win, we will do well.”

A formative experience…

“I have grown a lot and enjoyed studying opponents, this has made me grow in all respects. It’s been two years of great work, it’s like coaching a first team for me.

The key word…

“The group, because we have a great mentality and we are all united. I’m lucky enough to coach guys who are ambitious and want to win, as we are also fighting for the play-off title so we also have other goals, it’s a season that still has a lot to give and say.”

Many players have made their debut among the big boys…

“It is the consequence of the work of past years. Last year we took the risk of playing with a very under-aged spring team, we fought for safety and the group grew. This year they have established themselves in the category with great depth, seeing them make their first-team debuts on big stages, especially at the San Siro, is an indescribable emotion.

“When you make your debut in the first team you grow up all round, you have to deal with first-rate men who fight for great goals, they make you understand how to interpret the profession on a daily basis, you acquire a different awareness. You burn through the stages and the results are visible even in the spring.”

On Porto…

“Great quality, the Portuguese are strong and we know they have a great youth sector. We’ve already met Braga and I saw them with more guile perhaps, but my lads also have grit and enthusiasm, we’ll get there well and it will be a great game.”

Zeroli is the captain…

“Choosing the captain was very easy, for the boy that he is. There are others like him, but he has already imposed himself since last year playing under age with his behaviour, great quality and professionalism. He’s been here since he was eight years old, he’s done all his training in the youth sector, he has Milan in his heart, in his veins, he gives everything for his teammates and is always cheerful and positive even off the pitch. I hope one day to see him on the big stages.”

Tags AC Milan Ignazio Abate Milan Primavera

1 Comment

  1. Love what he’s accomplishing with the younger players, but I’m not sure I want him to take over next season. Give him a little more time to perfect his trade, just like Alonso did in Spain. I think he could very well be similar in effect to De Rossi at Roma, but let’s fix the issues in the club a little more first so we don’t just throw him into the deep end. Let him keep shaping the youth teams for now, and maybe let’s actually, I don’t know, USE THEM in the senior team instead of selling immediately?! Just a thought

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