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Ranking Roma’s Youth, #6: Luca Pellegrini

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The young fullback will try to establish himself in the senior squad after a season lost to injury.

AS Roma v Tottenham Hotspur - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

One of the brightest prospects of Roma’s Primavera side, Luca Pellegrini was slated to start at leftback last season as an 18 year old, before a summer ACL tear derailed his season. This season Pellegrini won’t be expected to be a regular starter with Aleksander Kolarov established on the left. However, Pellegrini should get plenty of opportunities to spell the aging veteran and show why he’s so highly thought of among Roma management.

AS Roma v Tottenham Hotspur - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

Number Six: Luca Pellegrini

Age: 19

Position: Left-back

Current Club: AS Roma

Previous Club: AS Roma Primavera

Rank Last Year: 7

Future Comparison: Gianluca Zambrotta

Who is He?

Luca Pellegrini was discovered by Bruno Conti at just nine years of age, while he was playing for a local team named Tre Tor Teste, after growing up in the Cinecittà Bettini neighborhood. After being discovered by Conti, Pellegrini joined the Roma youth academy for the 2011-12 season. When he was discovered, he was a goal scoring attacker who scored 30 goals for his amateur side.

That before coach Roberto Muzzi convinced him to become a defender by telling Luca he’d be the best fullback in the country if he made the switch. In that time, he has represented both Roma and Italy at every youth level up to U19. Along the way, Pellegrini collected some hardware as part of Alberto De Rossi’s Primavera side, including a Scudetto, Coppa Italia, and a Supercoppa.

Pellegrini has attracted a lot of attention from big clubs throughout his Roma career, including an offer from Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool when he was just 15 years old. Pellegrini turned down the overture and remained with Roma. Just this past April, Luca signed a long term contract with Roma until 2022, while turning down interest from both PSG and Juventus, according to reports. Early in his career Pellegrini seems to have the innate Roman loyalty that we’ve seen among other Roman born players through the years.

What Can He Do?

The fact that Pellegrini was slated to start at left back at just 18 years of age speaks volumes as to what he can do. He looks to have all the tools you’d want a player to have at his disposal when building a modern fullback.

Pellegrini is calm and composed when in possession and has the ability to beat defenders with both his quick pace and ball skills. Luca also has the ability to pick out a pass, which shows good intelligence and vision for such a young player; traits that go back to his early days as an attacker.

Most importantly, considering he plays fullback, Pellegrini has a good defensive presence for a player his age. He positions himself well and has good technique. With good coaching, these skills will be enhanced to another level.

What Can He Become?

Pellegrini looks to be the real deal and seemed to show no ill effects of last season’s ACL tear in Roma’s recent ICC match. Now injury free, he should only get better from here on out. He’s got a great role model in Kolarov to learn from on a day-to-day basis, as he begins to learn pick some of the nuances of the game and hone his talents.

Pellegrini has been referred to a predestinato (predestined one) and there’s no reason why he can’t live up to that billing. He could follow in the footsteps of Totti, De Rossi, and Florenzi, and be the next in a line of Roman born stars. Barring injury he has the chance to be an absolute stud for Roma for years to come. In addition, a long productive international career in Azzurro seems well within the realm of possibility.