As Milan officially handed out their 22-man squad to UEFA for the upcoming Round of 32 tie in the Europa League, many eyebrows were raised due to the exclusion of Norwegian wonderkid Jens Petter Hauge.
Among those was Italian pundit and journalist Carlo Pellegatti, who is well-known for his to-the-point, unbiased perspectives on the Rossoneri. He may even be scouting tournaments like the Copa América later this year for potential future signings.
Having been a Milan fan for about 64 years now, one can only imagine the amount of knowledge and passion the former commentator has for his beloved Rossoneri. Upon the release of the squad news, the lifelong Milan fan was outright in his views.
“There was a choice between him [Hauge] and Meite, sorry to Hauge that it was his spot taken, but the last few games had not been brilliant. The player is a little more conditioned by Pioli’s instructions and technical directions,” said Pellegatti (via MN24).
Hauge primarily operates as an inverted left winger, who adores cutting in to either dribble past opponents or slide a pass through the 18-yard-box. Citing Pioli’s decision to play him in a compact manner, he said: “He doesn’t play as free as he once did and therefore struggled a bit (in his last few appearances). I’m a little sorry the others were chosen.”
Hauge has been Rossoneri’s stand-out player upfront in the Europa League this season, registering six goals and three assists in eight appearances across the qualifying and group stages. His display against Sparta Praha in the final group match was instrumental in Milan qualifying for the next round and his performance against Celtic over two legs was remarkable to say the least as he scored two and assisted one against them.
Stefano Pioli was left with the choice of excluding one of three Milan players, between Soualiho Meite, Rade Krunic and Jens Petter Hauge. Due to the fact Mateo Mussachio, Andrea Conti and Leo Duarte left Milan, the club have one less spot in the List A due to their respective exits.
That cut down the squad strength from 23 to 22, leading to the Norwegian’s sacrifice. List B, however, is filled with Milan Primavera talents in Daniel Maldini, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Matteo Gabbia.
“Milan having Leao, Rebic, Mandzukic, and Daniel Maldini already who can play on the wing means Milan decided not to leave the midfield without Meite, signed with the intention of being a fourth midfielder, and Krunic as a man for all the roles.”
Carlo Pellegatti’s understanding of the situation is certainly one to take under consideration, but it remains to be seen if Pioli will regret his decision to exclude the club’s top scorer this season in the UEFA Europa League.