Not yet old enough to drive in Italy, midfielder Mattia Vitale has already made two appearances for Juventus and been compared to Bianconeri team-mate Claudio Marchisio.
Article top media content
UEFA Champions League finalists Juventus have no shortage of talent already at their disposal, but where is the next wave coming from? UEFA.com continues its weekly wonderkid feature by examining the credentials of Mattia Vitale.
Name: Mattia Vitale
Debut: 11 April 2015 v Parma FC
Date of birth: 01/10/1997
Preferred foot: left
They say …
"He is a player with a bright future. He already has enough personality to play at senior level. He is a natural-born leader, but he has to learn to control this and use it only for the good of the team."
Gianluca Pessotto, former Juventus defender and current manager of the Bianconeri youth system
"He is a very interesting player. He can play as a box-to-box midfielder or just ahead of the defence. He will grow by training and playing with the first team."
Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus coach
Born in Bologna, he played in Bologna FC's youth set-up as a forward until Juventus came calling in 2011. After shining at various age levels for club and country, and changing position, Vitale was included in the Juventus squad for a pre-season tournament last summer and earned praise from Allegri for his performances against Indonesian and Singaporean representative sides.
Playing style …
A left-footer blessed with sound technique, stamina and a knack of arriving late into the penalty box, Vitale likes to orchestrate things from midfield, where he can tackle and demonstrate his leadership qualities. Two red cards in four UEFA Youth League outings this term, however, suggest his approach may need some refining.
Shades of …
Vitale has drawn comparisons to Italy and Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio. When deployed in front of the defence as a 'regista', the role normally occupied by Andrea Pirlo for the senior team, he plays in a manner reminiscent of how Marchisio coped when the veteran conductor was injured earlier this season.
Eureka moment ...
Aged 17 years, six months and 11 days, Vitale became Juventus's youngest debutant since Nicola Zanini in 1991 when he was introduced for the last ten minutes of the Old Lady's surprise 1-0 loss at Parma FC in April.
Best-case scenario …
The potential to become a cornerstone of the Juve midfield is certainly there, but Vitale is far from being the finished product. He will probably be loaned out in order to gain more playing time – Marchisio was sent to Empoli FC in 2007/08 – and be recalled if he impresses away from Turin.
He says …
"Training with Juve you always see players like Pirlo or Marchisio and you obviously hope to become like them one day. I'm fully aware that it will be extremely difficult. I just have to keep working hard and try."