With the U21 Euros kicking off this June in Poland, there’s lots of speculation in the Italian press over who’s going to get picked for Italy, who are in a tough Group C along with Germany, Czechia, and Denmark. Manager Luigi di Biaggio is certainly keeping his options open. Although no Fiorentina players were selected for most recent Azzurini friendlies back in November, it’s likely that a pair are going to get the nod come summer. Any guesses who?
Why, yes, Federico Bernardeschi is young enough to add to his 12 appearances and 3 goals, even though he’s 23, due to a UEFA quirk. Although Berna’s been kicking around with the senior team, he’ll probably drop back down for the U21 competition as Italy tries to win their 6th championship. The prospect of partnering him with Sassuolo star Domenico Berardi must have every team in Group C waking up with the night sweats. Viola fans may be a bit more anxious, as it’ll be the second summer in a row that Fede has been called for an international tournament and it could tire him out before season begins.
Federico Chiesa, on the other hand, has never represented Italy a level beyond the U20s. However, he’s taken Serie A by storm in the past few months, and di Biaggio has to be seriously considering a raid for the 19-year-old. With his energy, willingness to take on a defender, and brilliant dribbling, young Chiesa is the definition of supersub. And various news outlets are reporting that he may indeed get the call.
Fiorentina has a number of other connections to the U21s. Former Viola youth star/future savior Leonardo Capezzi is one of the stalwarts in the Azzurini midfield. Former Gigliati hitman Alberto Gilardino is also the all-time leading scorer for the baby blues with a stunning 19 in 30 matches. Riccardo Saponara also starred for the side from 2011 to 2013, making 22 appearances and scoring 3, while Marco Sportiello was also selected numerous times but never made an appearance.