Musiala and Fagioli, two different planets. The cultural difference that divides Germany and Italy

The debut of Nicolò Fagioli in Serie A (at 20, against Crotone, at home, at 3-0) and the first Champions League goal by Jamal Musiala (17, against Lazio, in an eighth-final and with already twenty appearances behind) brings back the whole discussion regarding the difficult path towards professionalism of young Italians, while in other countries (Germany, but also England) the presence in training of a class of 2003 is welcomed without the slightest surprise, at most a slight curiosity. It is clear and evident that the situation of the Anglo-German class of 2003, which also chose to represent Germany just this morning, is an extreme case and as such should be analyzed: however, it offers the opportunity to compare two cultural poles very distant between them, the Teutonic and the Italian, obviously with reference to the development of young players.

ORGANIZATION – It comes by itself: the German organization beats the Italian one 10 times out of 10, and ten to zero. This is a speech that is valid in the round, certainly not limited to sport or just football. On the contrary, the Italian system can boast characteristics of inventiveness and imagination that are not even dreamed of in Germany. It is therefore not the aim of this article to establish who is “the best”, but simply to underline the differences between the two philosophies: the highly organized German federal system facilitates work in building the talents of the future, as evidenced by the successes, practically in every branch of youth football, collected by the DFB in the last decade.

FEDERAL CENTERS – Compared to Italy, in the German house great importance is given to the exploitation of the many federal centers scattered around the country: which are many more than our own, but above all they are much more used. The rallies are constant and in a much higher number than those organized by the FIGC, which gives better and greater control to the highly trained Teutonic federal technicians (more on that later, ed) on the development of talents in the area. And which, for the same reason, also facilitates the discovery of emerging talent, starting from the amateur system up to professionals. A tight-knit fabric on which Italy appears late, even if the results of the youth national teams are anything but despicable.

PHYSICAL AND TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT – If in Italy development is more than anything else left to chance (in the sense that it depends above all on the club manager, ed), in Germany there is a very specific and common idea that everyone carries on for better or worse: the physical and tactics go hand in hand with technique, a path that, as mentioned in Italy, is left to the club. It is therefore difficult to find an emerging talent who stands out in terms of technique but is totally fasting from a tactical and physical point of view: the latter is the aspect in which Italian development appears most lacking and which forces young people to “gain experience. “on loan, even for several years, before being considered ready and savvy at the right point to make their Serie A debut.

BASIC MODULE – For several years, in Germany all the youth national teams have followed the example of the National Major in terms of tactics: the starting form is for all the 4-2-3-1 that uses Joachim Löw with the The team, naturally declined in the appropriate variants depending on the players available. We will therefore have the same game system as a starting point and a whole series of variations aimed at exploiting the technical material that the respective coaches can use (defense that becomes 3 in the non-possession phase, lowering of the attacking midfielder or widening of the center forward, just to do some concrete examples): this helps the young player coming from the Under 21, but also from the Under 20 or 19, to quickly fit into the “big” group.

COACHES – Perhaps it is the most marked difference between the German and Italian movements: in Italy the youth sector coach generally aims to make a career and reach Serie A as soon as possible, even for a mere economic factor. A few examples? Gattuso, Grosso, Longo, Inzaghi (both), Crespo and so on. Youth sector specialists such as Alberto De Rossi and Valter Bonacina are mostly exceptions to the rule, as well as endangered figures. Totally the opposite is the case in Germany, where obviously there are also Bundesliga coaches who come from the Youth Sector, but where above all the salary and the specialization in the growth of young people allow most of the coaches to find their natural habitat in the development of talents. This allows for a specialization in certain skills which in Italy is much more difficult to find.


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