5 Young Players That Will Lead Italy to Success in Euro 2016
It's time for Italy to look forward to the Euro 2016 competition and start integrating plenty of youngsters who will also be part of the 2018 World Cup experience set to take place in Russia.
Italy's U21 squad is a formidable unit that has given birth to plenty of young talent, especially in the attack.
There's a new generation of Azzurrini ready to replace those veterans who won't play another international competition with their country.
Here are five young Italian players who will look to make their mark on Euro 2016 and beyond.
Scuffet went from being a little-known third-string goalkeeper at Udinese to winning a starting position with the Friuli side and drawing comparisons with the legendary Gianluigi Buffon.
The way Scuffet has played despite only being 17 years old is remarkable. His positional awareness is usually seen only in the most weathered of veterans, and his shot-stopping ability and reflexes have also put him in the spotlight.
There was even talk that Scuffet could have gone to the World Cup as Italy's third-choice goalkeeper, but Mattia Perin was handed that spot instead.
Scuffet will continue to get first-team football at Udinese despite drawing interest from a host of clubs around the peninsula.
The 19-year-old Cagliari left-back is an interesting prospect. Italy don't really have a naturally left-footed player at that position who has been able to win the job for the senior side.
Mattia De Sciglio was the first-choice full-back, but he could be moved to the right in order to accommodate someone like Murru.
The marauding youngster has racked up a slew of appearances for hometown club Cagliari and is one of the most interesting options for Italy as they look toward the new generation.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Only a year ago, Stephan El Shaarawy was the teenage sensation who had lit up Serie A in the first half of the season and was a starter for the Italian national team alongside Mario Balotelli.
However, an unfortunate series of injuries have put his career on hold. The 21-year-old rarely featured last season and was shunned by outgoing national boss Cesare Prandelli, who favored other in-form attackers.
If El Shaarawy can avoid injury, expect him to be a focal point of the Azzurri once again.
The 22-year-old Atalanta midfielder is another name that has made the rounds this past season. He's an all-round talent with a knack for picking out the clever pass.
Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono started giving him more chances to patrol the middle of the field and Baselli repaid him substantially by impressing mightily.
Baselli's name was on Prandelli's lips when he was in charge. The youngster could very well be called up by the new Italy coach in the near future.
The flashy Domenico Berardi exploded on the scene this past year with newly promoted side Sassuolo, scoring a remarkable 16 goals as a teenager, including a poker against Milan.
With those four goals against the Rossoneri, he became the second youngest player to ever do such a thing in Italy's top division.
The wonderfully gifted Berardi is still waiting for his chance with Italy, but it's only a matter of time before he becomes a factor with his national side.
His blend of pace, technique and raw finishing ability has made him one of those most interesting young prospects in Europe.