Stramaccioni to give youth a chance at Inter

New Inter Milan caretaker coach Andrea Stramaccioni plans to literally rejuvenate a failing side after making the step up from the successful youth team to replace the sacked Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri left after a defeat by Juventus stretched eighth-placed Inter's poor run to six losses in 10 games as the 2010 European Cup winners face up to the prospect of no Champions League next term and no trophy for first time since 2004.

Inter's biggest problem is their ageing side and little-known Stramaccioni has been promoted for at least the rest of the season after leading Inter's youth team to victory in the NextGen Series at the weekend.

"Young people are an asset and the club together with the coach will decide how best to manage them," the 36-year-old told reporters at his presentation on Tuesday.

"The assessment of when and how to do it is an important and delicate thing because you can take a risk and rush the evolution of a young man. But I think the president has already given a signal."

President Massimo Moratti chose to go to London to watch the youth side beat Ajax Amsterdam in the final of the NextGen Series, devised to be a Under-21 European Cup, rather than attend the Juve game on Sunday.

He said youth must be blooded and Stramaccioni immediately brought Andrea Romano, Ibrahima M'Baye and Marko Livaja into the first-team squad for his first training session as he looks to convince Moratti to give him the reins long-term.

"I come from achieving a great triumph, a success of everyone, of a youth sector of the highest level," he said.

"Now I am living something totally unexpected, a dream which president Moratti has presented to me and which I will do everything to honour to the best of my ability."

POISONED CHALICE

Stramaccioni, a former Bologna player whose career was halted early by injury, had only been Inter's youth coach for less than a year having joined from a similar role at AS Roma.

Inter had been linked in the media with moves for Zenit St Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti and former Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas, who was trying to shake up an ageing squad at Stamford Bridge before being sacked, for the permanent role.

Whoever gets the job full time faces a difficult task in reviving a team who won an unprecedented Italian treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010 before the Portuguese left for Real Madrid, knowing full well Inter had reached their peak.

Rafa Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini and Ranieri all picked up the poisoned chalice within less than two seasons and now older players such as Esteban Cambiasso and Dejan Stankovic will now be nervously looking over their shoulders.

Manchester United famously packed their side with young players in 1995 after shipping out older names and Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt went on to help dominate English football for years.

With UEFA's new financial fair play rules threatening Inter's long-standing reliance on benefactor Moratti and expensive spending on big names, youth could be the future.

The head of the Italian league managers' association Renzo Ulivieri and the Italian federation's youth director Arrigo Sacchi have given their backing to Stramaccioni who is younger than 38-year-old club captain Javier Zanetti.

"Our captain is an example of a person who is young within," said Stramaccioni.

Roma and other Serie A clubs are also beginning to invest in youth as Italy frets about the absence of young players in top teams and the poor performance of the national side as holders at the 2010 World Cup.


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