Milan’s youth academy is undoubtedly one of the greatest in the world. With stars like Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, and Alessandro Costacurta all learning their trade in the Rossoneri’s Academy, it's not too surprising that talented players like Manuel Locatelli have left the Primavera to thrive under Milan's first team.
The Italian international started his career in Atlanta's youth academy. At the tender age of 12, he caught the eye of the Rossoneri’s chief scout Mauro Bianchessi. Bianchessi was certainly impressed as he immediately brought Locatelli to Milan. The eighteen-year-old progressed from the U 12 team to the Primavera, enhancing his reputation over the years. The Italian international was promoted to the first team in February and played his debut game against Carpi on the 21st of April. The teenager's first strike on target was a goal that fermented Milan's 4-3 comeback against Sassouolo. Locatelli then blasted another goal home, spurring Milan to a victory over Juventus; A win that may be symbolic of Milan's bright future.
The Italian is a central midfielder who plays the role of a deep lying playmaker. Locatelli’s position enables him to have a profound influence on the game. The Midfielder's ability to pinpoint passes from all ranges causes some to compare him to the great Andrea Pirlo. Like Pirlo, Locatelli is unbelievably calm and composed in possession of the ball and has a unique ability to control the tempo of the game. Even though Locatelli prefers to play in front of the defense, he is skilled at playing a central midfielder role and will even dive into tackles. Also, with two shots and two goals, he is a clinical finisher.
Locatelli is a towering six-feet tall and quite slim. Despite his height, he is not an aerial threat- something that he will undoubtedly need to work on in the coming years. The midfielder can also work on reading the play and when and how to block passes from the opposition's attack. Also, he is not the fastest on the pitch and is quite slim making him an easy target to push off of the ball. However, he is just 18 years old and has time on his side to nullify the weaknesses in his game.
It appears that Locatelli is here to stay as he just signed a contract with Milan untill 2020. Despite this, considering his phenomenal play and tender age, it is more than likely that he will be on the shortlists of many top European Clubs. Locatelli, in addition to Milan's star keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, will be a challenge for Milan to hold on to but are essential if Milan wants to bring glory back to the club. If Locatelli keeps his feet on the ground and has the desire to improve, Manuel Locatelli can be a star for both Milan and the Italian national team.