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Milan’s Romagnoli out of Italy squad with injury: What are the other options going forward?

Can anyone in the crowd play central defender?

Italy Training Session Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Um, what? Alessio Romagnoli is now injuried?

No.

No. No. No. No.

It’s being reported that AC Milan central defender Romagnoli had to withdraw from duty with Italy because of a muscle injury, and that’s terrible news for Milan fans. Romagnoli is being replaced in the Italy squad by Francisco Acerbi, but who will replace Romagnoli in the Milan squad?

Right now Milan have around half of the “first choice” starting XI out injured, and even those that aren’t out, some are still less than 100%, or suspended for the next two games (Gonzalo Higuain). Ricardo Rodriguez pulled out of international duty with a slight knock, and Patrick Cutrone was also out with a slight injury, leaving Franck Kessie, Suso, and Gigio Donnarumma as the only players that started against Napoli who haven’t missed time with injury and appear to be 100%.

Right now, it appears that the only true “central defender” on the first team roster who is fit is Cristian Zapata, and that’s not good. Rodriguez has played at central defense this season and as part of a back three at Wolfsburg, but he’s not someone who has a lot of experience playing in central defense in a back four.

One player that appears to have the skills to play in central defense would be Tiémoué Bakayoko. He’s got height and he’s good enough in the air to play in central defense, the only question is if he’s got the positional sense and marking ability to play in defense in Serie A. Of course, experimenting against Lazio, who Milan are competing with for the fourth and final Champions League spot in the table, is going to be problematic, but here we are.

Should Milan use Rodriguez and Zapata in central defense? Or go to a back three with Zapata being supported by Bakayoko and Rodriguez? Anyway you play it, it’s going to be difficult for Milan if Romagnoli misses any time at all.