Giacomo Raspadori teased Italy fans during the international break by showing what he can bring to the team going forward.
The Napoli man netted the winner in the 1-0 victory over England at the Stadio San Siro in the first game and he also scored in the 2-0 win over Hungary in Budapest which means that Italy have qualified for the finals of the UEFA Nations League.
This international break could be perceived as a coming-of-age period for Raspadori within the Azzurri set-up as he was certainly the main man in an area of the pitch where Italy have been having problems.
Raspadori is a different type of forward for Italy
It has been extremely well-documented in recent months and years that Italy are struggling for a prolific forward and that is a large part of why they did not qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Raspadori is not the answer to those woes. He is not a conventional striker in the mould of Ciro Immobile, Gianluca Scamacca, and Andrea Belotti who have all been given chances to lead the line for the national team in recent history.
What he can do, though, is provide a tactical alternative for Roberto Mancini that he has not always had the option of. Mancini has used a front three for the majority of his time as Italy coach but he chose to play a 3-5-2 against England.
Raspadori was upfront with fellow former Sassuolo player Scamacca. Raspadori was clearly the one with the license to drop into more of a No. 10 role and it meant that he could bring the wingers into the play much more than they previously have been able to.
That helps the team in a general sense with approaching different games but when you throw into the mix that he has become a very adept finisher, he becomes even more important.
Raspadori is getting more clinical
The way that Raspadori took his goal against England on Friday night was very impressive. Both he and Scamacca seemed to be able to pluck the ball out the sky that night and he brought down a high ball in the box whilst under pressure from Manchester City defender Kyle Walker.
He then stayed composed as defenders raced back to meet him and he shifted the ball to one side and hit an excellent curling effort beyond Nick Pope. Italy needed someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make the pressure pay and he did exactly that. At 22 years old, it is a sign that he’s getting to the next level at the right time.
The goal against Hungary to open the scoring required a lot of composure as well even if the possession was something of a gift.
He has scored twice for Napoli despite having had a fairly low amount of time on the pitch under Luciano Spalletti so far and it seems that on this form and with more minutes surely on the way, he could beat last season’s tally of 10 goals in all club competitions.