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Ranking Roma's Youth, #9: Dimitrios Keramitsis

The young Greek center-back impressed during his first full season with Roma's Primavera side. With his contract set to expire this season, he could force his way into the senior team picture before too long.

AS Roma U19 v FC Internazionale U19 - Coppa Italia Primavera Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

No one really knows what direction Roma is headed in at the moment, but with Roger Ibañez out the door, Marash Kumbulla's cloudy future with the club, and Chris Smalling nearing the end of his career, the club will have vacancies in defense sooner than we realize.

Enter 19-year-old Dimitrios Keramitsis. The next man up in our U-23 countdown already made his senior debut, though it lasted only one minute. Still, the young Greek center-back has been a mainstay for the Giallorossi at the Primavera level and could force his way into the senior picture sooner than we realize.

So let's take a quick glimpse at what this kid has to offer.

Number Nine: Dimitrios Keramitsis

Greece Portraits - UEFA European Under-19 Championship Finals 2022/23 Photo by Seb Daly - Sportsfile/UEFA via Getty Images

Age: 19

Position: CB

Shades of: Nicolas Burdisso, smaller but more mobile Federico Fazio, slightly slower Kostas Manolas, with a dash of Gianluca Mancini's impetuousness.

Who is He?

A 6'3" defender from Thessaloniki, Keramitsis came to the Giallorossi Primavera from Empoli's U-17 side in August 2021. Since then, the young center-back has been a rock for the Roma youngins, making 68 appearances in all competitions, adding six goals and one assist for good measure.

After logging approximately 1,600 minutes during his debut season, Keramitsis leveled up last season, starting every one of his 26 appearances to the tune of 2,207 minutes. Keramitsis has seen his role with Greece's U-19s evolve along a similar path, starting eight matches during the U-19 European Championship qualification phases.

What Can He Do?

With the necessary proviso that he's young and the data available is scant, Keramitsis looks like an up-and-coming prospect. In the clip above, Keramitsis (wearing #34 for Roma and #5 for Greece) looks like an intriguing amalgam of former Roma center-backs Nicolas Burdisso, Federico Fazio, and, of course, Kostas Manolas.

He's not quite as maniacal as Burdisso, but we see the same tenacity and tackling technique that made the Argentine a fan favorite during the 00s, and while he's not quite as fleet afoot as his countryman Manolas, his approach angles, closing speed, sense of timing and ability on the ground are reminiscent of Roma's former number 44. And a 6'3", he uses his size to win aerial duels and body defenders out of position like prime Federico Fazio.

What Can He Become?

As we've seen with Ibañez and Kumbulla over the past few years, young center-backs have no choice but to learn on the job. But with his ability to read attacking moves as they develop, his understanding of approach angles, and his sense of timing, Keramitsis' learning curve could be a gentle one. However, he'll need to cut down on the cards—he saw 11 yellows last season.

The question is simply a matter of timing. With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Roma has a decision to make, as does Keramitsis. Given all that he's accomplished at the Primavera level, it's fair to wonder whether or not he'd re-sign with the Giallorossi without a clear path to the senior team. At the same time, given the dearth of young, reliable defenders in the first team, if he can't get a brief look this season, it may never happen.

We're not suggesting he'll be the second coming of Franz Beckenbauer, but there is a lot to like about this kid. He's already flashed traits that indicate, if nothing else, he'll be a solid rotation piece, while his ceiling is likely a regular starter. And with six goals to his credit, he can even be a threat on setpieces.

No matter what he becomes, this is a make-or-break year for his Roma career.