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Ten Reasons For Eusebio Di Francesco

Why I believe EDF is the best man for the job

US Sassuolo v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

1) He knows Rome

EDF is no stranger to the Eternal City. He made 168 appearances as a midfielder for the Giallorossi between 1997 and 2001. Following his retirement, he served as a team manager for a short period of time. Already knowing the city, the fans, and how ruthless the media can be is a huge plus for an incoming manager.

2) He knows Serie A

This is always a must-have for me when it comes to selecting a new manger. Serie A and calcio in general is a whole different ball game when compared to the other leagues. The EPL has quickly become an athlete dominated clusterfuck of speed and strength, while La Liga just simply doesn’t think defense should even be a part of the game. Serie A is a highly tactical league, where every move a manager makes is ten times more crucial. All Romanisti know just how difficult it can be to break down a stubborn lower half side. It will be great to have a manager who knows how this league functions.

Italy U21 v Spain U21 - International Friendly Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

3) He’s been great with Roman youth products

Luca Antei. Lorenzo Pellegrini. Matteo Politano. Luca Mazzitelli. Federico Ricci.

All of these players may currently be at Sassuolo, but they once were all a part of the Roma Primavera. While Luca Antei has only played minutes here and there at CB, Wayne told us about how Lorenzo Pellegrini has been an important piece of Sassuolo’s midfield, racking up 53 appearances in his last two seasons. Winger Matteo Politano has only two fewer apps in the same time frame, partially thanks to injuries to Domenico Berardi, but regardless Politano has looked solid when called upon. Luca Mazzitelli and Federico Ricci both joined last season, racking up an impressive 16 and 21 appearances respectively.

We all know Roma have one of the best youth systems on the peninsula. EDF seems to know this as well, and he’s already proved that he knows how to integrate these talented youngsters into his team. If he can do the same as the manager at AS Roma....the sky is the limit.

4) He’s been great with young players in general

Simone Zaza. Nicola Sansone. Domenico Berardi. Gergoire Defrel. Alfred Duncan.

Just some of the non-Roman youth names that EDF has turned into solid, starting talent. Luciano Spalletti seemingly couldn’t integrate any youth outside of Emerson Palmieri (and let’s be honest, that was more out of emergency due to Mario Rui’s injury and Rrrruan Jesus’ disastrous start to the season). If EDF can make the most of Roma’s academy players, that means a deeper squad and more transfer funds to spend on single players at higher levels.

AS Roma v Juventus FC - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

5) He has Monchi

The excitement around the new DS has helped take away a bit of the sting of Spalletti’s departure. His impressive track record at Sevilla of finding great talent at good prices will serve a manager like EDF well.

6) He has some European experience

Sassuolo’s 6th place finish and subsequent making of the Europa League last year was one of the more impressive Serie A performances of all time. While Luciano Spalletti could not get Roma over the European play-off finish line, EDF was able to lead Sassuolo through not one, but two play-off rounds to make the EL group stage, a 4-1 aggregate win over Luzern and another 4-1 vs Red Star Belgrade.

Unsurprisingly, EDF and Sassuolo quickly realized how difficult it is to balance Serie A and EL football simultaneously. Their less-than-deep squad placed them in a hole in the Serie A table, forcing EDF to shift his focus away from the EL: their impressive start to the group stage, a 3-0 demolition of Athletic Bilabo, was followed by a tough road defeat to eventual quarterfinalists Genk. A road draw in the following match against Rapid Wien left them in a large hole in both the EL and Serie A tables, and the focus thus shifted to getting out of a potential relegation scrap.

US Sassuolo v SSC Napoli - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

7) He stacks up to some of the best up and coming managers

Some comparisons can be made to certain managers around the world who have had similar resumes/made similar jumps in their career. These names are some of the most coveted in the world: Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, and Maurizio Sarri. All started at smaller clubs and made the jump to a larger one. Pochettino is especially interesting, as he and EDF seem to have the same love for integrating youth, and the Argentine has done an incredible job with the better resources at Tottenham. Sarri, Conte, and Di Francesco all have promotions to Serie A in their resumes. Anyway, here’s the comparison. Winning percentages at previous clubs before the “big job”:

Conte (Juventus): Atalanta: 27.4%, Siena: 50.0%

Pochettino (Tottenham): Espanyol: 32.9%, Southampton: 38.3%

Sarri (Napoli): Sorrento: 41.7%, Empoli: 43.7%

Di Francesco (Roma): Sassuolo 1: 46.7%, Sassuolo 2: 36.6%

8) Lorenzo Pellegrini

As mentioned in point number 3 and expertly covered by Wayne, Lorenzo Pellegrini has really impressed under EDF at Sassuolo. Roma still have a buy-back option on the young midfielder, and rumors have strongly suggested that Roma will execute this option. Pellegrini back at Roma under the manager who blooded him would be a dream come true and a huge signing. That is, if Roma do not flip him for a quick profit, with many other teams rumored to be interested.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

9) Domenico Berardi?

Berardi has been EDF’s most impressive product to date. The immensely talented winger/false nine has scored 60 goals in 160 appearances across all competitions over the past five seasons. The Italian starlet was also the leading scorer in last year’s EL qualifying rounds with five goals in four matches. Rumors in the press say that Berardi and EDF have a great relationship and that the player may wish to follow him to Rome. If that’s indeed the case, Monchi could be looking at a great first transfer deal.

10) He’s won a Scudetto before

There’s something about saying you’ve been there before. That you know HOW to win and that you’ve done it. Not including temporary managers like Montella and Conti, the last Roma manager that had previously won a Scudetto as either a player or manager was Fabio Capello. Yes yes yes, I know, it’s apples to oranges; Capello was an extremely proven manager when he won the last Scudetto for Roma. But EDF was a part of that squad. He was there. Maybe it’s stupid, but it’s a good storyline, and for once, I’m ending an article on a non-pessimistic note!


Are You Sold on EDF?

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