Atalanta youngster Giorgio Scalvini says Gian Piero Gasperini and Roberto Mancini treat him ‘like a 30-year-old’, despite only being 19-years-old. The Italy interntional has been one of the revelations of La Dea’s season, breaking into the first team last season and now becoming a staple of Gasperini’s starting XI. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the youngster explained why he believes Atalanta have struggled of late, what he expects from their match against Roma on Monday, and why he’s not paying attention to the transfer rumours linking him to Europe’s elite clubs:
You have an imperviousness to everything….or almost everything?
“Definitely to what they say from outside: I select what should or should not be listened to. I listen to the coach, the staff, the teammates, the family and those who love me: all I get from them is strength.”
Impervious to the downturn you had in Atalanta after the break for the national team?
“In a season there are ups and downs: it’s mostly a matter of ‘lost’ details, to be found again without getting down. If you think you’re already ready, that’s the moment when instead of growing more, you quickly go down.”
And even with the interest of Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Bayern? At a valuation of at least €40 million?
“I’m perfectly happy at Atalanta: I’ve never listened to much, and in any case it has never shaken me much, so I don’t see any worrying signs. Maybe there will come a day that I will have to think about it, but it can only happen if I do well in the present.”
Gasperini, speaking of you: “The personality he has cannot be bought in the transfer market”?
“Personality is part of character. What improves is the confidence with certain plays, the responsibility in certain moments, certain behaviors.”
One phrase from Gasperini and Mancini that is always on your mind?
“About Gasperini there are many…. One they both said to me, and it struck me: ‘You are very young, but I will treat you like a 30-year-old player.'”
A word on the Florence game and the Monday night match against Roma?
“In Florence it was a good defensive phase, but we also had a confirmation: there’s great room for improvement in terms of play. Monday’s match, which is very strong from a competitive point of view, I hope we can say that it is time to win again in front of our fans.”
How does one who grew up in Zingonia experience this struggle to win in his own stadium?
“Not by explaining it. Except with the desire that becomes eagerness and leaves room for mockery like ‘a chance of theirs, a goal taken.'”
The secret of the victory with Roma in the first leg?
“Great unity in the group: it was seen in the defensive phase of the second half, which was almost perfect.”
After scoring that goal, did you think toward the end of April you would score more than two?
“That match I played as a midfielder, from there on I was almost always in defence. But especially with inactive play, as the coach asks, it would be much better if I scored a little more. Gasperini also asks us defenders to attack, to have the predisposition to play. The one I lacked in Florence.”
And why is Atalanta lacking goals, only seven in the last eight games?
“More than anything else it’s fatigue in the development of the game: fewer technical mistakes need to be made.”
But playing lower and more ‘wait-and-see’, is Atalanta more solid?
“More cautiousness gives more compactness between the departments, especially if those in front also help. But, when you can, it’s better to face opponents higher up the pitch to recover the ball: it helps the development of the offensive action and you are closer to their goal.”
Do you ever have the temptation to yell at Boga, “Shoot!”?
“In Florence I asked him, “Why didn’t you go all the way to the goal?” He replied that Milenkovic would have closed him down: maybe he was even going to pass it to Muriel, come on””
And one thing you yell at Hojlund?
“When he came back after scoring five goals with Denmark, I told him, ‘Oh! Now don’t let it go to your head, huh?’ But Rasmus knows for himself what he has to do.”
They say Atalanta starts flying in the spring: but when does this spring arrive?
“The way we work, we should be there. But the right momentum will give us, above all, a ‘just’ win. Maybe with Roma.”
….Roma, who will be more tired or more charged after the 4-1 win in the Europa League?
“Europe gives stimulus, winning 4-1 gives momentum. But I feel like saying that we will have no less.”