Ragazzi di vita

During the fall, Alberto De Rossi's primavera team were coasting. They broke records, they won in style, and they absolutely dominated their division. Perhaps that was what made them jaded. Perhaps the success was, ironically, what put an end to that team. Come January something like half the team had grown restless with primavera football and wanted to try their worth at real football, and were loaned to various serie B teams. Crescenzi who played in serie A under Spalletti last year currently can't even make the bench at his current team. Primavera captain Bertolacci moved to Lecce, was handed the number 10 shirt and then told to go sit in a corner somewhere; he has made one appearance as of yet. The goalkeeper Valerio Frasca, credited by many for the primavera's defensive record (something like no goals allowed in a million years), moved to Arezzo in January, and is stuck in much the same way that his former teammates are. In an interview with Romanews, he said:
"There already was a starting goalkeeper with experience here, who has done okay when called upon. The coach has told me that out of the three goalkeepers on the team, I'm the strongest talent wise, but that he can't put me ahead of two others with more experience."
Coaches who don't play obvious talent for the favor of experience is no new thing in Italy, and it's been that way for generations. But precisely because of that it feels like we can let the poor old horse be, it's taken enough beatings to last it another lifetime. Roma can do nothing about the mentality and stubbornness of serie B coaches, it's out of the club's hands. What isn't, however, is the ability to do some leg work before they loan young primavera players out. Instead of shipping them out to the first suitor and leaving final word with the player, it would be beneficial to actually make sure what the club's intentions are. In this case it would have taken a fairly small amount of work to find out that Arezzo had no intention to start an 18 year old goalkeeper, so Roma should have told them 'no'. It's not so much about overruling the wishes of the players as it is about educating them about the lay of the land. I don't think any primavera player, no matter how full of confidence they may be, would think going on loan to a club with no intention of using them sounds like a good career move. And it's not a new thing, the most egregious example I can remember was a few years ago when Valerio Virga was a young right wing with some speed and not completely irrelevant skill set. He was given a run by Spalletti, and I still remember him being one of Roma's better players in the Italian Cup semifinal with Udinese. Fast forward a few months to the following summer, and Roma loan him out to a club that didn't even utilize wing play, let alone a lanky, fast, strict wing player without real experience.

Instead Frasca now stands alone, left to rue decisions taken and scenarios that never materialized:
"I didn't feel stimulated any longer in the Primavera. But I haven't found the atmosphere that I expected to. I made the wrong choice.
On January 31st I was heading to Palermo. They wanted me to be their third goalkeeper, or even second choice immediately. The director Sabatini is in love with me in a football sense. An important offer was made to Roma for me which I can't reveal the details of, but Roma rejected it. But Sabatini appreciates me, hopefully in June they'll make another offer."