Three matches into his new role as Milan's No. 1 goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma has caught the attention of Luigi Di Biagio.
Di Biagio called Donnarumma and two other Milan players to the Italy U-21 national team Thursday. Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria will join the 16-year-old goalkeeper on the team. The Azzurrini are preparing for European Championship qualifiers against Serbia (Nov. 13) and Lithuania (Nov. 17).
While Milan's defense has been playing well of late, Donnarumma has impressed in his limited chances to shine so far. Since replacing Diego Lopez as the starting goalkeeper three matches ago, Milan has only allowed two goals, one of which was a perfectly-struck free kick. Donnarumma has made seven saves as Milan has earned all nine possible points, climbing to sixth place in the table.
Donnarumma will be Milan's starting goalkeeper for the foreseeable future, with Diego Lopez sidelined by an injury. Getting a chance to play with the Italian U-21 squad could be great experience and a chance to keep getting important reps ahead of the Nov. 22 clash with Juventus.
Romagnoli's inclusion in the squad is surely not a surprise to anyone, especially the way he has turned his game around in recent weeks. The 20-year-old center back is Milan's fifth-best performer this season, according to Squawka. His per-90 numbers are fantastic. He is averaging 9.31 defensive actions per 90 minutes: 2.43 interceptions, 0.32 blocked shots and 6.56 clearances.
Calabria has not seen much action since Milan's veteran fullbacks got back to full fitness, but he was impressive when he was in the squad. The 18-year-old right back has averaged 5.55 defensive actions per 90 and has a passing accuracy of 67 percent, with his passes going an average of 19 yards.
Honda will join Japan for its World Cup Qualifying matches against Singapore (Nov. 12) and Cambodia (Nov. 17). The attacking midfielder's playing time has been sparse over the last month. Honda's last start in any competition was with Japan in World Cup Qualifying Oct. 8. Since then, he has been used as a substitute four times for Milan. Honda has yet to score a goal or log an assist in Serie A this season, and he has only taken six shots. However, his passing accuracy of 83 percent is the third highest by a Milan player this season.