Pop quiz, hot shot! What’s the only constant thing at Roma since September 2019, apart from ugly losses against minnows, Pastore’s injury, bashing on Alessandro ‘Look mama, I’m a rightback!’ Florenzi, Fonseca declaring his love for the 4-2-3-1 or water coming out of the Trevi fountain?
The answer: Jordan Veretout. Le moteur. L’intouchable.
This weekend Jordan will play his 30th consecutive game for Roma since he broke into the first team all the way back to the 4-2 win against Sassuolo in September. He missed the first two games against Genoa and Lazio, but has been an ever-present since September 15. And he hasn’t had a breather for a very, very long time.
21 games in Serie A, six in the Europa League and two Coppa Italia ones. Most of them as a starter, only four times he came off the bench. And he finished 19 matches of those with a full 90 minutes under his belt. Admittedly, due to the injuries of Cristante, Zaniolo, Pastore and Diawara...and the fact that Pellegrini is shite in the double pivot, Veretout was probably the first name on Fonseca’s sheet simply because he was the only ‘real’ midfielder left.
And now against Atalanta there’s number 30 in a row. While the likes of Fazio, Florenzi, Ünder, Pellegrini, Kluivert, Perotti and co all missed multiple games so far, a line-up without Veretout looks almost unthinkable right now. Dzeko or Pau Lopez may have featured in more games/minutes, but compared to Jordan their respective roles in the team are easier due to no or little competition.
Also, for Veretout’s style and position on the field, it takes quite a lot of stamina and mental resilience to perform 100% for 30 games in a row. In the double pivot of Fonseca’s 4-2-3-1 formation, he must defend, attack, press, pass, dribble and tackle, preferably all at once. It helps if you have a partner in crime to create some chemistry together.
The combo of Veretout-Diawara, and to some extent also Pellegrini and Zaniolo, looked on a roll before those horrible injuries happened to both Nico and Amadou. Veretout even had to partner Mancini, who’s originally a centreback, and it worked quite well. Diawara and Mancini are talented as hell, that’s true, but some of the credit also goes to Jordan. He’s a fighter and never gives up, a type you always need on your team and a pain in the ass to play against.
Sometimes he reminds me of a smaller Strootman, other times he looks like a Pjanic lite. However, he still has some way to go before he enters the same category as both men. Still, playing in 30 consecutive games for this club is a start and I’ll bet he’ll add a lot more in this lovely shirt.
So far, his career in Roma has been turbulent but he’s shown nice things. He’ll enter his best years and is settling quite well in Rome. Thank God Roma won the race with Milan for his signature last Summer. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll rank him up there with other memorable midfielders like Perrotta, Pizarro, Radja or Emerson.
Roma’s schedule is going to be very busy the next couple of weeks so it’s good to know that in between this huge pile of injured bodies at Roma, we’ll always have the iron Veretout to save the day.
Veretout, tout magnifique!