In this week’s ‘Settore Giovanile’ series, resident youth sector expert Adam Digby takes a look at the progress of the Primavera, Allievi Nazionali (U-16), and Giovanissimi Nazionali (U-15) Juventus sides. In addition, a report on how some Bianconeri did in the Italy U-19 match vs. Montenegro, and Antonio Conte’s special guest-lecturer appearance in the ‘Formazione Juventus’ seminar series.
Like the first team, the Juventus Primavera finally returned to action with this weekend’s game against Sassuolo their first since beating local rivals Novara before the international break began two weeks ago. This week Marco Baroni had to, much like Antonio Conte, carefully judge the fitness of the players returning from duty with their country against those who had sat kicking their heels in Turin for the past fortnight.
He opted for four changes – mainly at the back – leading to a return to action at this level for Frederik Sørensen. His partnership, alongside Pol Garcia in central defence, could well blossom into a truly great one, the pair have incredible potential and are developing great chemistry too.
Sadly, much like the Novara encounter, the Bianconeri will regret once again dropping points, this time even worse after opening a two-goal lead. Stefano Padovan opened the scoring with a penalty before a goal from Giuseppe Ruggiero appeared to seal the points. Sassuolo were determined throughout however, eventually clawing back to a well-deserved final score of 2-2 and a share of the points.
That now keeps them second in the table but now three points behind leaders Fiorentina – but with a game in hand after the Sampdoria postponement – and three ahead of Livorno and Empoli in fourth place.
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This week sees a return to Coppa Italia action, as Baroni’s men look eliminate a Napoli side coached by Adolfo Sormani who spent three years coaching in the Juventus Youth Sector prior to moving south and into his current role. To win – and secure a Quarter Final place – they will need to overcome the 3-2 score from the first leg in Naples as the Partenopei travel to Vinovo for the decisive match on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a championship encounter with Siena on Saturday.
Allievi & Giovanissimi Nazionali
Elsewhere the Allievi Nazionali earned a 2-2 draw with Cagliari in which Giuseppe Ponsat netted the opener only to be then sent off shortly after for dissent. His team-mates scored a late equaliser to take a point ahead of an impending Turin Derby of their own next Sunday.
Meanwhile the Giovanissimi Nazionali (U-15) continued their good run of form, following last week’s Turin derby victory by crushing Savona 6-0 (goals by Udoh, Clemenza(2), Mollica(2), Cabella) as they continue to top the standings in their age group.
Before this week’s latest matches, much like the members of the first team involved in International action this past week, a number of Primavera players were also representing the Azzurrini. As part of Alberigo Evani‘s Under-19 side, they were in action in a two-legged friendly against Montenegro, drawing 1-1 away before recording a comfortable 3-0 win on Thursday morning.
Four of Baroni’s team were involved as Matteo Liviero and Elio Di Silvestro started the match while Andrea Schiavone and Stefano Beltrame were second half substitutes. Italy’s goals came courtesy of Milan’s Kingsley Boateng, Michele Fornasier of Manchester United and Inter’s Simone Pecorini.
‘Formazione Juventus’ Seminars
Stepping away from the action altogether now and the links between the tactical ideals Antonio Conte is instilling in his team and those employed by the Primavera squad have been well documented in this series. Many times the alterations made by the first team coach have quickly been mirrored by Marco Baroni with his own side, as we have seen with numerous different formations as the season has progressed. This week this idea, implemented as far back as last season when Giovanni Bucaro (now coach of Avellino) constantly echoed the ideas of Gigi Delneri, was given further strength by the implementation of an interesting new scheme.
Antonio Conte opened the fourth of a regular series of seminars, dubbed the ‘Formazione Juventus‘, as he presented his first class with members of Baroni’s team. His session was entitled “Il gruppo si racconta” (‘the group tells its story’) and focused on team dynamics and spirit. As always, lying behind these moves is the desire to foster deep intrinsic bonds between the full squad and those youngsters looking to become part of that elite group to have progressed on into the first team.
Gianluca Pessotto, currently chief of the Youth Sector, and Academy Director Giovanni Rossi were also present as Conte spoke at length on his own progression from Lecce’s Primavera to Juventus, discussing the vast differences between the clubs and the benefits these youngsters have at being involved at one of Europe’s biggest sides from the very beginning of their careers.
In bocca al lupo ragazzi!