AC Milan had 11 call ups for the international break and there were some stand-out performances that we will look at here.
Suso played a fantastic games against Wales where Spain were victorious 4-2. Suso provided two classy assists from set pieces; one from a corner and one from a free kick. He was threatening from the right wing and made the difference for Spain going forward. Perhaps the best moment for Suso was when he almost scored a screamer from the edge of the box that unfortunately came off the woodwork capping a brilliant performance. If he keeps up the good showings, he could make a solid case for a regular spot in the first XI.
Gran asistencia de Calabria hoy con Italia U21 pic.twitter.com/t2ussrK0SP— AC Milan (@ACMilanGoleador) October 15, 2018
Davide Calabria put in a solid performace againts Tunisia for a 2-0 victory for the Italy U-21 side. Calabria often comes under fire for his sloppy dribbling and wide crosses but he laid up a beauty for Parigini for Italy’s first goal with a brilliant piece of footwork followed by a perfectly weighted cross. Calabria is growing stronger by the game and may be able to fight for his permanent place with Andrea Conti for the Rossoneri and possibly even get a national team call up soon.
Donnaruma played both of Italy’s games against Ukraine and Poland and was as solid as ever. He gave 100% at every juncture and made numerous critical saves as Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci did not look their best. Gigio kept a clean sheet against Poland and showed his strength in one-on-one situations coming up strong on three different occasions to keep Italy from conceding. Also Gigio looks much more comfortable on the ball through his experience with Milan that is allowing him to allow for a new dimension to Italy’s game. Roberto Mancini is playing similar to Gennaro Gattuso focusing on passing out from the back allowing Gigio to thrive.
Alen Halilovic had perhaps the most interesting international break with the Croatia U-21 where they secured qualification to the upcoming U-21 Euros. Halilovic played both games against Greece and San Marino. Halilovic is playing an impactful role for his side taking on defenders and opening up space for the attackers. Halilovic scored a fantastic opening goal in the 4-0 victory over San Marino and created quite a few chances in both games. If he gets the opportunity to do the same for Milan he can be a valuable addition off the bench.
Çalhanoğlu şu pası veremiyorsun yahu... pic.twitter.com/dcKn5qOUjY— Engin Davran (@davrannn) October 14, 2018
Hakan Calhanoglu had a disappointing break with Turkey unable to score a single goal over the two games. The Turks drew 0-0 with Bosnia and lost 2-0 to Russia. Calhanoglu received a fair amount of criticism online for mistiming a square ball to Cenk Tosun when he was wide open. Calhanoglu has not been making his precision passes and crosses of late and this showed during the international break. He needs to rediscover his form and be more confident in his abilities.
The rest of the Rossoneri on international break had pretty bland matches and performances. Franck Kessie’s Ivory Coast took 4 points from the Central African Republic during the home and away qualifiers but Kessie had a rather quiet showing in both. Ricardo Rodriguez was part of Switzerland’s 2-1 loss to Belgium, Rodriguez was at fault for one of Romelu Lukaku’s goals when we failed to track the Belgian striker leaving an open shot. Giacomo Bonaventura came on as a sub in Italy’s game against Ukraine that ended 1-1, he injected some energy into the squad but was largely inconsequential.
Lastly, Diego Laxalt had perhaps the worst break with Uruguay losing both friendly matches against Japan and South Korea whilst conceding 6 goals. Overall there were some positives but more importantly the squad got an adequate rest before the derby as most players skipped the second fixture. Hopefully Milan can build up on the momentum from the past three games and serve up a victory against Inter Milan on Sunday.