Much like the top-of-the-table first team squad, it has been a mixed start to the campaign for the highest of the Settore Giovanile sides as Marco Baroni and the Primavera have struggled to replicate last season’s incredible run. Their opening nine games have seen them collect 17 points, losing two and drawing two of those early fixtures, managing to overcome a tough 3-0 reverse at Fiorentina by going on an impressive four game run which included an emphatic 4-0 win over Empoli and a deserved 1-0 derby triumph against Torino.
That good run continued this past weekend with a 1-0 victory away in Siena, courtesy of a Simone Pepe penalty. Yes, that’s right, the 29 year old midfielder scored the only goal to seal three points which see Juve climb to fifth in the table some eight points behind the Viola who have played a game more. Pepe used the 90 minute run out in order to improve his fitness levels as he seeks to fully recover from the injury which has kept him out of contention so far this term.
He took up a wing-back role as Baroni has adopted the same 3-5-2 formation deployed by Conte in order to best prepare the youngsters for what lies ahead should they be deemed good enough to make the grade. One player who impressed once again in this match was Spanish central defender Pol Garcia, occupying a position on the left of the back three in which he has excelled to date. His reading of the game, passing and ability to contain opposing forwards has seen him become vital to the style Baroni looks to impose.
Elsewhere, the Allievi Nazionali (Under 17’s) also recovered from a loss to Fiorentina, Ivano Della Morte leading them to a 2-0 win over Cagliari this past weekend which sees them move up to ninth place in the table, some twelve points adrift of leaders Parma. There are no such problems for the Giovanissimi Nazionali (U-15’s) as they recorded a stunning 10-0 away victory over Casale with Marco Muratore bagging a hat-trick. Claudio Gabetta has the side in fourth place, seven points behind Torino but only two below third place Sampdoria who they face this coming weekend.
Perhaps the biggest news this week is the 3-1 derby victory secured by the Giovanissimi Regionali (U-14) side at Vinovo. Led by Coach Fabrizio Ravanelli, they were inspired by Captain Walelign Barengo who scored the opening goal with Moussa Ndiaye and Massimo Goh rounding out the scoring. A clearly delighted Ravanelli told Juventus.com after the match;
It was a deserved victory and we could have also scored a few more.
I’m happy with how our lads read the game, showing a great sense of belonging. This is fundamental for them to continue to chase their dreams.
As identified in the previous edition of this column, the player perhaps best able to join Claudio Marchisio and company in the full squad is Ciro Immobile, last season’s Serie B top scorer. He has hit the back of the net three times this term for Genoa, also adding an assist but has found himself on a poor team, currently 18th and perhaps receiving less criticism than they usually would due to the dire form of cross-town rivals Sampdoria. With Ciro Ferrara and Gigi Delneri set to go head-to-head this weekend in the Genoa derby, Immobile has the opportunity to endear himself to the Grifone fans by piling on the misery for ‘Doria.
Juventus appear to have adopted a policy of loaning bunches of players to teams and Richmond Boyake has three goals for Serie B leaders Sassuolo who have also been helped by impressive midfielder Yussif Chibsah. For Pro Vercelli – who sit in the relegation zone – Alessandro Masi (10 starts) has his work cut out in central defence and Gabriel Appelt (12) has just suffered a badly broken leg that will keep him out for some time.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio has kept four clean sheets for 15th place Vicenza where he is joined by Manuel Giandonato who has played his way into the starting line up now he has fully recovered from the injuries which slowed him so badly last season. Also in a relegation battle are Lanciano, for whom Nicola Leali is getting plenty of goalkeeping practice, keeping just two clean sheets.
One of those came away to Vicenza last week in a game which defender Prince-Désir Gouano failed to feature as the Frenchman struggles for playing time in a side which also contains former Juve man Ilyos Zeytulayev. Also sadly struggling for playing time are Manolo Gabbiadini, Cristian Pasquato and Frederik Sørensen at Bologna, making very few appearances and hopefully they will be moved on in January in order to continue their development.
A lot of positives then, but still much work for Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici to do in order for these players to reach their potential. With names like Garcia, Immobile and Federico Mattiello shining however, it is clear the future is a bright one for the Juventus Youth Sector as it continues to both achieve its own successes and to deliver some of the peninsula’s brightest talents.
In bocca al lupo ragazzi!