Edoardo Bove has the chiseled good looks, physical tools, and the local lineage to be an icon for AS Roma. However, as a club that needs production from young, cost-controlled assets to remain competitive, Bove experiences more pressure than the average U-23 player just beginning their career. It would be one thing if Bove played for Lecce, Empoli, or Cagliari, places where he'd have the benefit of time, but time is a luxury Roma can seldom afford.
As a club firmly in Europe's middle class, Roma cannot afford to field 11 ready-made superstars. To remain competitive, the Giallorossi needs to exploit as many young, cost-controlled players as possible. With these savings, the club can then focus their limited transfer funds on one or two key pieces: players in their prime who can put Roma over the top.
The problem, as far as Bove is concerned, is that he's Roman. And the second a local kid shows any talent for the game, the clock starts ticking. He has to contribute immediately because, like it or not, he bears not only the weight of expectations but also the legacy of local legends like Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi.
Bove can't simply exist. He can't simply play well for a kid his age. He has to possess the same ethereal feel for the game as Totti and the same rage, pride, and passion as De Rossi. It's an impossible legacy to live up to, but as a Roman playing for AS Roma, he has no choice.
This birthright is a blessing and a curse. but in his brief tenure with the club, Bove has managed these stresses well. Earlier this week, the 21-year-old midfielder opened up about his upbringing, progress with the club, footballing idols, and more.
Here are a few of the best bits, but the full DAZN interview is embedded at the end of this piece. (Translations via Google, Romanews, Vocegiallorossa)
On life as a Roma supporter growing up:
"My family has always passed on this passion to me. Then my dad has Neapolitan origins and my mom is German and so I'm a little bit half and half. I took a bit of the stern side from mum and the slightly more playful and nice side from dad. However, I began to have a passion for Rome as a child. Then I entered Trigoria when I was ten, now I'm twenty-one and this is the twelfth year and so I've been here more times than at home.
I know what it means, as time passes and you grow, you also understand the importance of where you are as you move forward. That's the best thing because maybe someone says you've been in Rome for twelve years and maybe it started to become a routine and a habit. Instead, every year that comes is even better and I hope to continue like this.
On his development and integration into the first team:
"... everyone has a different path, I was lucky and good at taking advantage of a certain type of opportunity and staying here the whole time. Now, of course, I'm happy with what I'm doing. It's a very beautiful moment because you always project yourself into the future while also being young, so you are always very active and very energetic.
"... in general I think a footballer's career also leads young guys to grow right away. Because an eighteen year old boy finds himself in a locker room with men with children and the topics are different and the responsibilities are different. So you're already growing from other points of view too. As if everything were elevated to the nth degree. Maturation is also high and you see improvements. But it's nice to be so at the center of a project."
On what it's like playing for José Mourinho:
"Yes, the fact of giving me so much responsibility leads me to still have a relationship of great trust. When a coach gives great trust to a player I believe that repaying it is the best thing. Naturally the coach is truly a master of the mentality he transmits to us, of the wickedness we must have on the pitch and during training. The fact that he gave me this trust and this responsibility helped me grow. Because it's one thing to play without pressure and another thing to confirm yourself game after game which is the most difficult thing."
And finally, on his footballing idols:
"From a football perspective, the Roma player that I remember very well, even quite recently, is Nainggolan. I really liked him as a type of player and he was one of my favorite players. This is not to be trivial, because how can you say that you wouldn't have wanted to share the locker room with De Rossi and Totti?".
If you're interested in the full interview, or even if you just want to brush up on your Italian listening comprehension, give it a look!