Stefano Pioli has not been afraid to look to AC Milan’s Primavera set-up for some added depth this season. However, the 58-year-old has never been against offering youth a chance, and a report has listed the 11 to be entrusted to make the step up so far.
The Coppa Italia quarter-final clash saw Pioli field a rotated side to offer players a chance to rest ahead of a busy January. Perhaps Pioli’s hand was forced, with injuries and absentees, but a number of those to play on Tuesday evening were Primavera regulars.
Pioli has picked his moments to offer Primavera players a chance consistently well, and whilst this season has pushed him to give a few more chances than he perhaps would have liked to, their debuts have been accompanied with praise, both for the manager and players.
As a result of Alex Jimenez becoming the latest Primavera debutant in the Pioli era, Gazzetta dello Sport have compiled a list of the 11 debutants that have risen through the Primavera ranks to Pioli’s senior squad.
Most recently, Stefano Pioli offered Alex Jimenez his debut. The Spanish full-back’s arrival in the summer was highly praised, especially with Milan getting a buy clause in the deal. The Real Madrid loanee impressed in the Coppa Italia quarter-final, and with him being in and around the first team regularly, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue to shadow the senior team.
With the issues that have recently stretched the 58-year-old’s midfield ranks, there has been a need for immediate cover, and the captain of Ignazio Abate’s side, Kevin Zeroli, was given his first chance for the Rossoneri against Sassuolo.
Chaka Traore is another to have received a full Milan debut against Cagliari. However, it was not his first minutes for the senior side. Pioli offered the Ivorian a chance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and offered him minutes against Frosinone, but the Coppa Italia quarter-final saw his first start and senior goal.
Another debut given at the mercy of injuries, but this time in central defence. Jan-Carlo Simic has quickly become a revelation this season for the Diavolo. The defender, again, was given his full debut in the Coppa Italia but had previously had some fairytale minutes against Monza, the game of his debut and first goal.
It is time to address the elephant, or baby in this case, in the room, Francesco Camarda. Rumours of a potential appearance were rife in the lead-up to the game against Fiorentina, with the Rossoneri’s striking options slim. However, when he took to the field, he became the youngest to appear in Serie A at 15 years, eight months, and 15 days old.
The first to earn a senior cap in the 2023-24 season was Davide Bartesaghi. The left-back became Theo Hernandez’s backup after an impressive pre-season campaign and was rewarded with a first appearance against Verona.
The only Primavera debut in the 2021-22 season was given to Luca Stanga, who replaced Alessandro Florenzi against Venezia. The full-back had been with the club since the age of six but was sold in the following summer to Lecce. He is currently on loan with Rimini.
The Coppa Italia has been seen as the correct opportunity to entrust youth with opportunities, and the debut of Giacomo Olzer subscribed to this theory. The 19-year-old was part of the Under-16 side that won the Championship in 2017 but later departed to Brescia as part of the deal for Sandro Tonali.
Marco Brescianini made his only appearance for the club in a game against Cagliari. However, he now plays for Frosinone, following loan spells with Virtus Entella, Monza and Cosenza.
Lorenzo Colombo, another debutant in the Coppa Italia, but this time in the semi-final against Juventus. Following debuts in Serie A and the Europa League, the latter of which he scored in, he was sent to Cremonese, SPAL and Lecce on loan, and most recently, Monza.
February 2020 also saw the latest instalment of the Maldini dynasty. Following in Cesare’s and Paolo’s footsteps, Daniel Maldini made his debut against Verona at 18 years old. He scored his first goal when starting a game 18 months later and is currently on loan at Empoli.