The youngest player on our countdown, Giacomo Faticanti, makes his debut in the CdT U-23 rankings. As one of the rising stars of the Roma youth system, the youngster's name has been swirling around the training pitches of Trigoria for some time now. And despite being one of the youngest players on the Primavera squad last season, he was a fixture among the starting XI.
All of that was enough to capture the attention of José Mourinho, as Faticanti has trained with the senior squad this preseason, even making appearances in the Sunderland and Portimonense friendlies. So, without further ado, let's take a closer look at Giacomo Faticanti.
Number Nine: Giacomo Faticanti
Shades Of: Daniele De Rossi, Manuel Locatelli
Who is He?
Faticanti is a born and bred Romanista from Sora in the Lazio region of Italy. Raised by Romanisti parents, Faticanti has been a Roma supporter from childhood. He started his youth career at his local youth side (Sora) at four years old before moving to Frosinone's youth setup as a 12-year-old in 2016. He settled into the midfield and moved to the Roma youth setup in 2018-19.
In his four years at the club, Faticanti is proving to be a key piece of title-winning sides. Faticanti won the league title for the U-15s and then captained the U-17s to the title during the 2020/21 season. He's been hailed not only as a technically gifted prospect but also as a natural-born leader.
Faticanti is regarded as one of the crown jewels of the Roma and Italian Nation Team programs. He's featured at the U-15 & U16 levels for the Azzurri and is currently the youngest member of the Italy U-19 setup—already accumulating a dozen appearances as a 17-year-old at that level.
What Can He Do?
Football Talent Scout did a complete report on Faticanti this past season. The following is a summary:
Faticanti is a midfielder who prefers to sit deep and dictate the match's tempo from in front of the defense. He's a hard worker with excellent anticipation and reading of the game. He possesses an excellent passing range and can break defensive lines with vertical passing. He's also strong in ball retention and has proven to be a press-resistant player. Faticanti's decision-making has been described as being above average for his age.
Most importantly, for a player who prefers to sit deep in the midfield, Faticanti is combative on the defensive side of the ball and fights to break up opposing attacks through his positioning and timing. He's a tough tackler who wins a high percentage of his duels.
Oh, and he can strike quite the shot from time to time, like this one against the Milan Primavera in February.
Meanwhile, the Guardian summed Faticanti up as follows from their Top 60 talents born in 2004 (released in 2021). He was one of just two Italians to make the cut:
A tough-tackling, hard-running midfielder who has worn the captain’s armband for title-winning sides through multiple age categories at Roma, it is perhaps inevitable that Faticanti should draw comparisons with Daniele De Rossi. He is, after all, coached in the Giallorosso youth team by the former world champion’s dad. Such comparisons are a burden that any young player could do without, but Faticanti has thus far worn them lightly, showing a coolness under pressure and a knack for making smart decisions with the ball even when the spaces are tight and the stakes are raised.
What Can He Become?
Based on his style of play and the fact that he grew up idolizing Daniele De Rossi and wears the number 16 shirt, the De Rossi comparisons are inevitable. Of course, having just turned 18 at the end of July, Faticanti still has a long way to go. The coaching he's receiving this summer from José Mourinho should be invaluable in his development. However, he'll likely hone his craft at the Primavera level again this season and perhaps break into the first team in the next season or two, similar to Edoardo Bove's track.
There's no denying that the talent is there, and he's been playing above his age group at Roma and the national level for a reason. In the scouting report referenced above, Faticanti was rated an 8/10, which translates to "first team material in a top-flight club." If that proves accurate, it roughly translates to a Manuel Locatelli caliber player. I would never say that a Primavera player is the next Totti or De Rossi, but this kid looks to have all the tools to carve out his Roman legacy and perhaps be the next Capitano Futuro to Lorenzo Pellegrini's Capitano.