As debuts go, a trip to the Juventus Stadium is about as daunting as it gets. When you’re only 17, have a famous surname and are playing for a team whose supporters absolutely loathe the Bianconeri, you could be forgiven for being overawed.
Yet Federico Chiesa – son of ex-Sampdoria and Parma striker Enrico – took it in his stride. He wasn't able to help Fiorentina win, but delivered a performance that completely belied his age.
The starlet continued to impress even as his side stumbled through the 2016/17 campaign, but it was when the new season began that he truly shone. Stefano Pioli replaced the ineffective Paulo Sousa as manager and, after a mass exodus of talent, the Viola's new head honcho handed Chiesa a leading role in his revamped XI.
He had clearly been stymied by Sousa’s insistence on fielding him as a wing-back, because operating in the trident behind a single striker in Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 system is routinely bringing the best out of Chiesa.
Effective on either flank or through the middle, he is energetic, dynamic and skilful, able to burst beyond defenders using his speed and incredible technique.
Chiesa's finishing remains one area in need of improvement, but with a father who netted more than 200 goals, the youngster knows where to go for advice.
"Federico hasn't changed at all despite becoming so popular,” Enrico told La Gazzetta dello Sport recently. “He is still humble and keeps the same friendships. He still wants to grow professionally and studies his opponents on video. He is never tired of learning. His secret is training very hard every day.”
It's certainly paying off so far.
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