Before this season, Lorenzo Pellegrini had always been a would-be star in Italian football. He was seen as someone who will soon come of age and was only developing at Roma, two years after rejoining from Sassuolo. Fans knew how good he could have been, but it was a constant narrative. But this season, things are coming to life for Pellegrini – you have to wonder whether he has started to follow Casino Bonus UK to get free spins no deposit.

A lot of what the 23-year-old is doing is getting overshadowed by two things. One pertains to how well Chris Smalling has done for Roma, with the second being how well Luis Alberto has done for Lazio. Amidst that, the attention on Pellegrini has hardly stayed this season. He deserves a lot more of it.

The former neroverdi man has as many as nine assists to his name this season, while playing only 15 games in all competitions. He has only one goal in his tally, but Pellegrini was never meant to be a goalscorer – hence his very long odds to be the top soccer this season. If you want to have a punt on who will be top scorer, see the latest promotions from Super Wins and get the very best deals.

In Paulo Fonseca’s 4-2-3-1 shape, Pellegrini has been the club’s first-choice attacking midfielder in a fluid attacking system. The front three can be narrow in advanced positions, exchanging positions constantly. In that fluidity, Pellegrini has thrived and enjoys himself. But this isn’t the position he was always seen to succeed in.

In the 2017-18 season, Pellegrini wasn’t someone who could play further forward. With Eusebio di Francesco in-charge, he was a central midfielder who would dictate play and almost be a deep-lying playmaker. That season, Pellegrini made 37 appearances in all competitions, while scoring three goals and assisting five times.

Even at the Mapei Stadium, Pellegrini was a central midfielder. He did score eight times and got just as many assists in the 2016-17 season, but he had a tally of 0.9 key passes only. He would only complete 0.8 dribbles per game. The gradual growth in those numbers has seen him improve as a player and it has defined what sort of player he should be. And it is very different from how it was meant to be initially.

Last season, Pellegrini had a tally of 2.4 key passes per game, with his dribbles completed at 1. But those numbers have gone upto 2.9 and 1.4 respectively. That is proof of how he has grown in stature. He has become much quicker, direct and a better creator than he ever was.

It does mean that he is making the lowest number of tackles per game in a single season of his career- 1.1. He also gets dribbled past 1.1 times- the highest in a Serie A campaign for him. As much as he can still do that job when the need arises, Fonseca has brought the best out of his attacking abilities. The rest will hardly matter, if he gets to play in attacking midfield regularly.

Following Roma’s recent dominating win over Fiorentina, Fonseca was full of praise for Pellegrini. It was a reminder of how he has changed as player.

The Portuguese said: “He is a very intelligent player who looks for the right spaces, the right time to pass, and is so good at choosing the right option. It’s impressive, especially for one so young.”

Even his progress in the Italian national team is proof of how he’s finally come of age. Early on he was used as a central midfielder, but his last appearance for the Azzurri came on the left-wing. He played full 90 minutes, helping his side to a 2-1 win against Finland.

That game could well be a sign of how his future could be under Roberto Mancini. With the Euros coming up, the Italy midfield is packed with formidable options. Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Marco Verratti will surely be there. Add the likes of Sandro Tonali and Bryan Cristante to the list and it makes it seem like a stiff task for anyone to break into the side.

But Pellegrini brings that attacking intent which probably no other midfielder in that list brings. Sensi has become an advanced playmaker under Antonio Conte this season, he isn’t someone who can play on the left of the midfield.

Sensi, like Pellegrini, is a deeper midfielder originally. At Sassuolo- like Pellegrini, he was almost an anchorman who would conduct play from deep. He’s gone to a bigger club and has seen him evolve and improve his attacking intent.

With the Euros some months away only, Pellegrini could well play some crucial games of his career. He, like Sensi, has had some injury issues this season. If they stay fit, they will be sureshot key players for the Azzzurri in the Euros.

At 23, Pellegrini defines Roma. Not just because he is the club’s youth academy, but because of how he’s never looked for a move away despite a low release clause. For Fonseca, Roma and Pellegrini, there is only one way forward.

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Kaustubh Pandey