Expert discusses Milan Primavera’s struggles, progress under Carbone and 483-goal sensation

By Oliver Fisher -

It has not been the best of seasons for AC Milan’s Primavera on their return to the top flight as their struggles pre-relegation have continued.

An expert on youth football – Alessio Catalano of ilbellodelcalcio –  has provided some insight and analysis on what the current state of the youth sector is as he spoke in an interview with PianetaMilan. He highlighted the struggles, the possible talents of the future and also the details of a conversation with the head of the academy.

Starting from AC Milan’s Primavera in general, it has not been a particularly happy season. What are the causes in your opinion?

“In my opinion, the situation of Milan Primavera this year was determined by some out of quota [older] players who did not find a team. The solutions found were not satisfactory. And if you are a 2002 player and you still play in the Primavera, it is a bit of a failure.

“Tthen there are some elements that are not valid and would make it difficult to play in Serie C. Then also some injuries, like Traoré who was often out. Nasti was also injured at the beginning of the season, then he started scoring later.

“Injuries and situations managed a little badly could be among the reasons. Even the 2003-class have not particularly flourished. A mixture of elements led the Primavera to be in the middle of the table.”

Moving on to the lower categories: do you have any particular prospects that you have noticed and that you think could be a future champion in Milan or in any case from Milan?

“From Milan it’s difficult, speaking of the first team. Difficult to predict. But there are certainly profiles that could make Serie A without problems. One could be Davide Bartesaghi, left-back born in 2005. Then there’s Kevin Zeroli who is doing well and he is captain of the Under 17 team.

“Then there is Vincenzo Perrucci, also of the Under 17 team. In the Under 16 there are Matteo Tezzele and Adam Bakoune, defenders, and Gioele Perina, a forward who a few days ago scored 4 goals against Brescia, he has a lot of stuff. Then, well, Camarda is in the Under 15s…”

We have to thank Sciabolata Morbida on Twitter for first bringing our attention to Francesco Camarda last year. The 13-year-old striker is in his fifth year with Rossonero youth sector and while players scoring ridiculous amounts of goals is more common the further down the age groups you go, the numbers for Camarda are simply obscene. At one point had 483 goals in 87 games.

Everyone knows Camarda by now, can you tell us more about him? We know that he scores a lot, other qualities?

“I saw him play for the first time on August 31st, I had just returned from holidays. There was a summer tournament and there were several big teams invited. Looking at the U15s I saw him, he stood out a lot.

“I looked at the bill and I saw that he was born in 2008. You could already see that he was better than the others. Then amazed by this tournament I inquired and decided to post it on my page and that post exploded.

“He gave me his stats and had almost scored 450 goals in the last three/four seasons. He is a strength of the team, he knows how to play football very well and knows how to run the team. He does not even let himself be pressed by what people say, he has his head on his shoulders, he is in the right spot.”

With the change of ownership, Milan began to focus a lot on young people, but more ready for the first team. Now some investments in the Primavera have come…

“I took the liberty of publicly speaking to Carbone, head of the youth sector. I entered the world of football five years ago, at Milan there was Beretta as manager. They came from a disappointing management.

“Since Carbone, the results have arrived. The U15s are first, the U16s as well, the U17s have won their league. With the right investments, targeted, it takes a bit of time to wait for the players.

“I remember Bartesaghi, in the Under 15 he never played, now he is also a starter in the national team. There are also physical factors, sometimes you have to wait for the players. A series of well-chosen choices are bringing results.”

Why do you think there are fewer players leaving the Primavera for the first team?

“It depends on the previous management which was very disappointing. The results of the previous managements are being seen now. In the next few years we will see those of Carbone’s choices.”

In the current Primavera, who do you think is almost ready for the jump to the first team?

“Not for the jump to the first team, but a couple of elements could easily make Serie B and one is Nasti, who I would have tried to launch in the first team in this final of the season.

“Since Ibrahimovic is always injured and was the other day in Turin, the choice to bring Lazetic is questionable. But Pioli has decided so, even if Nasti is still one of the best scorers in the Primavera, we’ll see…”

Lazetic will only be played in the Primavera?

“He’s not ready yet, he doesn’t have the legs yet. He’s in half condition and I wouldn’t have taken him to Turin, I would have preferred Nasti, but Pioli preferred it that way.”

The fans are very curious about Traorè and Roback, can you tell us about them?

“Roback has done very little since he arrived two years ago. Especially for how much was paid. But he seems to me the classic guy who explodes if he goes abroad. I think if he leaves it will be outright. They’ll put him in some negotiations like swap deals.

“Traoré was a big investment, he is a boy who had already made his Serie A debut, he was blocked by injuries a bit, but the performance was there. He scored 6 goals, 5 assists. He gets along very well with Nasti when they play together. Next year could be his consecration, his year. This year he was still under age. He’s not ready for the first team yet, he has to do another Primavera year.”

One last tip?

“I can suggest a profile that hasn’t found much space lately, but that has always been considered the top player in the Milan youth sector: Maikol Cifuentes, born in 2005. He hasn’t found much space with the U17 team, but he has always been considered the most talented of the Milanese group. In fact I am confident to see him next year at the levels he deserves.”

Tags AC Milan Chaka Traoré Emil Roback Francesco Camarda Milan Primavera

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