De Sciglio - the next Maldini?

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Mattia De Sciglio: The hype is in full flowGettyImagesMattia De Sciglio: The hype is in full flow

As his 20th birthday approaches, and with only a handful of first team appearances on which to base opinion, Mattia De Sciglio has already had comparisons drawn between him and a Rossonero legend. The youngster is steadily working toward becoming a defensive stalwart for Milan, with his ability and versatility seeing him mentioned in the same breath as Paolo Maldini. At such an early stage in his career, is the comparison premature or a realistic assessment of the level he could reach?

Equally as comfortable on the left flank as in his natural position on the right, De Sciglio has taken full advantage of the summer out-goings and has started the season brightly. While those around him struggled, he has progressively grown in both stature and confidence - having appeared slightly tentative and nervous when initially drafted in - as he proves he is ready for the big stage despite his youth. Venturing forward with greater regularity and purpose, his defensive capabilities continue to improve too.

A self-confessed Milanista, signed by the club back in 2002, he has become a regular fixture in the Italian U21 set-up, and his increased playing time has helped to develop and improve his all-round game. Having initially broken into the first-team at the back end of last season, it is the current campaign where he has made a name for himself, whilst also inheriting the famous No.2 shirt during the summer. Yet despite the furore surrounding him, he remains humble and fully focused on the future.

"Obviously I am honoured by the comparison with a phenomenon beyond reach like Maldini, but I stop there. I am young and have to improve in every area of my game. I've got to be more attentive when defending, as in Serie A there are players who will pounce on the slightest inch of space. Milan is the ideal place to grow, as I get to learn from all these champions" – De Sciglio.

While he has impressed many with his early season performances, he has a long way to go before becoming the finished article. Much will depend on his ability to add consistency to his game, as Maldini showed over decades at the club that longevity is a key measure of greatness.

However, we've been here before. The Italian media were quick to hand the tag to a former Inter star after he made the headlines with some outstanding performances a few seasons ago. Davide Santon knows all too well about the pressure of being labelled the next Maldini, having lost his way during the end of his time with the Nerazzurri, he has now rediscovered himself at Newcastle. So the question is, will De Sciglio become a club legend, or will he fail to live up to the hype? With the youngster on the left flank, and Ignazio Abate on the opposite side, the full back positions could be in safe hands for years to come.

What is your opinion on De Sciglio, can he become a club great? Or are the comparisons too early?

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