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Lo Faso should stay on the bench

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If you’ll put down the torches and pitchforks for a moment, we can explain why.

Italy U20 Training Session
At least not until he shaves that little beardish thing.
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Welcome back to another edition of Unpopular Opinions about Fiorentina with your host, The Tito! Today’s thought is one that should move everyone from quietly seething to openly calling for my forcible ejection from this website, so let’s go ahead and get started.

/deep breath

/pauses

/looks around nervously, takes another deep breath

Simone Lo Faso shouldn’t see playing time this year.

/ducks as barrage of tomatoes fly towards stage

Seriously, though, hear me out. There are 3 good reasons to keep the kids on the bench.

1. If he can’t beat the likes of Cyril Théréau or Diego Falcinelli for space in the team, he isn’t ready to save anyone. This is pretty simple. We all get furious when Cyril’s out there doing his usual blundering around, so imagine how much worse the dude who can’t even beat him out for playing time is. I don’t watch the Viola training sessions except for the odd clip the club posts online, but I haven’t seen Lo Faso doing anything mind-bending in those. Let’s remember that we’re basing our lofty opinions of him on YouTube clips and a 19-minute cameo against Benevento, who are the worst defensive side in the league. That’s not nearly enough to form an opinion about how good he is. And for everyone who mentions his production at international youth level, I’ll remind you that the top 10 U20 Italy scorers are Emanuele Calaiò, Giacomo Beretta, Riccardo Orsolini, Alessandro Pellicori, and Graziano Pellè. That’s not exactly a murderers’ row of hitmen.

2. Handing spots to players based on anything other than merit tends to end rather badly. Remember what happened with Ianis Hagi? He’s been pumped up by his dad for his entire life, believed that he deserved a shot with the big boys (and may not have been wrong, but that’s besides the point), and got pouty when it didn’t happen. Handing Lo Faso regular minutes would alienate the guys who’ve earned it, and I don’t think this dressing room has the strong personalities necessary to get over that kind of obstacle. The last thing we need to see this year is the sort of divided squad that leads to Delio Rossi punching somebody.

3. This isn’t Football Manager. There’s this urge to assume that every young player is going to improve a lot, and that’s not true. There are thousands of dudes who showed promise as teenagers but stopped developing after that. While Lo Faso may end up being a star, it’s ridiculous to say that he’s on that path for certain. Let’s look at his stats really quick: in 30 appearances with the Palermo Primavera, he scored 10 goals. For comparison, let’s look at Maxwell Acosty, a tricky and pacy attacker who had an outstanding Primavera career in Florence. Max scored 17 goals in 54 appearances. That’s 0.31 goals per game. Lo Faso averaged 0.3 goals per game in the Primavera. Acosty washed out of Serie A, Serie B, and Serie C. He’s now an occasionally-used substitute for Croatian outfit Rijeka. I loved Acosty and really wanted him to make it, but he didn’t. There’s no guarantee that Lo Faso is any different.


Look, I’m not saying this to run Lo Faso down. I’ve watched those same videos as yall have. I saw how nippy he looked against Benevento. I’ll be really, REALLY disappointed if management don’t shell out the €1 million to make his loan permanent. I think he’s got as good a chance to grow into a productive Serie A player as any kid on the roster. But let’s also remember that he’s only just turned 20 and has a long way to go. Maybe he’ll be a superstar. Maybe he’ll flame out of football and end up as an organic pumpkin farmer in Guatemala. More likely is that he’ll be a serviceable professional, and asking more of him than that isn’t fair to him or to ourselves.