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Totti Today #60: In defence of Daniele

Should he stay or should he go? In AS Roma’s last 4 games, Daniele De Rossi played as a CB, operating alongside Manolas. Not because Dani eyes a late career switch, but because Roma’s defensive compartment is in trouble. So Rudi, in Kevin’s absence, calls upon De Rossi to clean up the mess and be our new washing machine. But is he a super expensive Miele or a faulty Whirlpool?

Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Armies & Knifes

Rüdiger & Capradossi: injured. Gummy Bear: unproven, not ready, risky. Castan: played a grand total of 2 Serie A games since September 2014. Riise: he can play CB but sadly he’s not here anymore. Guillermo Burdisso: still crying at Nico’s house because he was seen as a flop in Rome. Astori: currently enjoying first place with Fiorentina. Romagnoli: currently ‘enjoying’ life in Milan. Spolli: went to the mighty Carpi. Loria:……… Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Unless Florenzi is really a human Swiss army knife and can also excell at CB, there’s no other solution than slotting that other Roman, Daniele, in the CB spot for the time being. No one knows what’s wrong with Castan while Rüdiger, talented as he is, still has injury woes so it’s best not to rush him back to full fitness. De Rossi, now 32, is suddenly faced with one of the toughest (yet interesting) challenges in the Autumn of his career. Reinvigorate himself as a CB while he played his entire lifetime in midfield.

Hot & Cold

Kinda like Beckenbauer did, as the German turned into one of the finest defenders of the game as a modern libero. Hey, if Florenzi can be the next Zambrotta, Dzeko our Batistuta and Salah is dubbed the ‘Egyptian Messi’, then Dani can also be our Kaiser Beckenbauer! Now in all seriousness, Dani’s stats might not look that great when he was slotted in defence. 5 games this season, 3 wins and 2 losses. 9 goals against. Almost an average of 2 per match. Not exactly the kind of stats you brag about as a defender. But it does include very impressive and convincing wins like Juventus, Palermo and Carpri. Dani in defence has been blowing hot ‘n cold so far this season, but so did the entire squad.

Simply put: Il Capitano futuro just does his best for the team and the badge but we all know he belongs and shines in midfield. Preferably alongside Pjanic and Strootman. He’s not the new Italian Beckenbauer (or Scirea/Baresi if you’d like) but he’s no Loria, Spolli or Kjaer either. There are worse alternatives out there. For example: raise your hand if you believe Gyomber could do a better job than Dani against let’s say Juve or BATE. Thought so.

Combinations and questions

The harsh reality is this: Manolas-De Rossi is currently the best duo we can offer at CB, unless Rudi finally realizes his mistake and finally starts putting Castan next to Kostas. Reminder: that won’t happen because Rudi is as stubborn as a mule. The things is, with Kevin’s long-term absence and recently Keita’s injury, Dani is also desperately needed back in midfield because 1) both Radja and Vainqueur are a different type of player and 2) Florenzi is indeed no human Swiss Army Knife so he can’t play everywhere at the same time.

The defence that will start against Empoli will probably look ugly. After all, Garcia must keep the hugely important game against Leverkusen in mind. It’s not gonna be easy against a tricky striker like Maccarone and behind him someone like Paredes who wants to prove himself. Expect literally every possible combination, from Maicon – Manolas - De Rossi – Digne to Florenzi - Manolas - Gyomber – Torosidis. Thank God this one is at home against an inferior opponent and not Fiorentina or Napoli.

One thing’s for sure: De Rossi WILL be on the field on October 17. But where, that’s the real question