Italy’s man in the middle: Why the Azzurri’s Euro 2024 hopes rest on Davide Frattesi’s shoulders

After helping Inter to the 2023/24 Serie A title, Davide Frattesi could be even more important to Italy's hopes of winning Euro 2024.

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A 1-0 win for the Italy Men’s National Team over Bosnia and Herzegovina gave little indication of the Azzurri‘s chances at the 2024 (Men’s) European Championship, but the game did signal that Davide Frattesi‘s performances this summer will be key to any success Luciano Spalletti‘s side are to enjoy.

The 24-year-old has a tendency, or natural ability, to arrive in the opposition penalty box almost unnoticed to score, and he did so again to caress a waist-high Federico Chiesa cross into the top corner, and in doing so ease the fears around the never-ending striker crisis surrounding Italy.

Genoa frontman Mateo Retegui has eight goals in four Azzurri games, but three came against Malta and Venezuela.

Gianluca Scamacca of Atalanta has netted just once in twice as many games as his rival for the no.9 shirt, and the other attacking options available to coach Luciano Spalletti are more comfortable out wide or a slightly deeper role.

Italy Men’s National Team players, including Jorginho, celebrate a Davide Frattesi goal. (@Azzurri)

Frattesi: From Inter sub to Italy starter

After joining the Nerazzurri on loan from Sassuolo in the summer of 2023, Frattesi’s time at the Stadio Giuseppe Mezza could not have got off to a better start, announcing himself to the Inter support with the fifth goal in a 5-1 hammering of Derby della Madonnina rivals AC Milan on Matchday 4.

But Frattesi then spent most of Inter’s scudetto-winning campaign coming on late in games to provide fresh legs and offer an extra attacking threat. Goals really started to flow for the former Neroverdi midfielder in the second half of the campaign.

Frattesi registered a goal every 120 minutes in Serie A and finished the season one goal off a career-best tally, despite operating in a slightly deeper than at Sassuolo. That seems to have convinced coach Spalletti he can offer a similar threat from the start, whether in a box-to-box role alongside Jorginho, or playing with the Arsenal man and club teammate Nicolo Barella providing solidity behind him.

Will Frattesi start Italy’s first match at Euro 2024?

Davide Frattesi celebrates scoring for the Italy Men’s National Team with Giacomo Raspadori and others. (@Azzurri_en)

Since Frattesi’s international debut in a June 2022 UEFA Nations League game against Germany, he has solidified his place in the team through his performances and has been chosen to start more than half of his 15 games in an Azzurri shirt.

The Inter midfielder was pivotal during Euro 2024 qualification, with two of his three goals securing a vital 2-1 win over Ukraine in Milan that would eventually help them edge past the Eastern Europeans into second place behind England.

With many of Italy’s established stars having departed the international stage since their Euro 2020 win, a blend of goalscoring prowess, positional intelligence, and versatility makes Frattesi a standout candidate to be the difference maker at Euro 2024.

If Frattesi is able to carry his club form into the European Championship, the Azzurri might just have enough to spring a surprise and maybe even keep the trophy at home in Rome.

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