The Juventus youth system has always been full of talent. Two of this season's three youth products were on display in Juventus' 4-2 victory over rival AC Milan Sunday night, getting the attention of those who had not heard of them before.
Central midfielder Claudio Marchisio and winger Paolo De Ceglie, both 22-years-old, were two of the brightest positives on a night when it seemed everything went right.
Their impact has been felt even more recently, as Juve has had many injuries to important players. The youngsters have almost been forced to have their Juve baptism under fire, with so many veterans on the mend.
With a three-week break for the holidays after this weekend's game, those who are close to returning will certainly be at full fitness, making the squad even stronger. And with the youngsters' quality of play at such a high level, the options that coach Claudio Ranieri will have to choose from will make some quite envious.
Because of this, big-money signings that grab the headlines look less likely than ever.
Marchisio, quite possibly the man of the match on Sunday, had his coming-out party in easily his best game of the season. Combining his slick passing and superior vision, Marchisio was the engine of the Juve offense.
For every flop that Juve has had in the center of the park the past two years since its return to Serie A (Sergio Almiron, Tiago, and Cristian Poulsen), Marchisio has quickly proved he will not be the next. Now, he looks like the long-term central midfield partner of Momo Sissoko, who just happens to be only one year older.
And while fans would love to have him, how would a player like Werder Bremen midfielder Diego throw off this kind of style Juve now plays with?
Sure, he's got skill and is only 23-years-old, but he is a pure attacking midfielder, which would force Ranieri to change his tactics.
And along with Marchisio, De Ceglie had a breakout effort on Sunday, coming on for the injured Pavel Nedved for 30 minutes.
What exactly did he do to get such a high match rating?
He all but terrorized the entire right side of the Milan squad, making tireless runs down the left flank and single-handily setting up Amauri's first goal of the evening, spinning in a cross that was perfectly placed for only the Brazilian striker to get.
With his performance Sunday, De Ceglie—who can also play on the left wing or defense—is being looked at as the player who could possibly take over for the 36-year-old Nedved when he finally decides to hang up his boots.
However, the one youngster who didn't appear Sunday night might be the best of the bunch.
There were big expectations placed on the small frame of Sebastian Giovinco, but a lack of playing time has seen opportunities to impress hard to come by, as Giovinco has only appeared in eight league games this season.
Folks, there are even more players just waiting for their chance to shine.
Juve, like most big teams in Italy, prefers to loan players who are no longer able to play on the primavera level. Giovinco, Marchisio, and De Ceglie all did it last year, with the first two playing together at Empoli and the latter playing with Siena.
Defender Domenico Criscito, 21, who is currently on loan with Genoa, seems like the next Juve youngster to return to base and play a bigger role next season, whether it's in the center or out wide on one the wings.
It's just a matter of time until the next wave of Juve youth talent hits the scene.
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