As England prepare to face Italy in the U20 World Cup semi-final, we run through five players who could do cause young lions problems in South Korea.
Italy, managed by former Milan midfielder Alberigo Evani, began the tournament with a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Uruguay, but qualified for the knockout stage with a 2-0 win over South Africa and a 2-2 draw with Japan.
They then saw off favourites France 2-1 in Cheonan, before a dramatic 3-2 victory over Zambia in extra-time, setting up a last-four clash with Paul Simpson’s England.
Who should Simpson’s side be fearing ahead of the clash in Jeonju on Thursday afternoon? Remember, we’ll be blogging the clash from midday on SkySports.com on Thursday across our digital platforms.
Riccardo Orsolini – age 20 – on loan at Ascoli from Juventus
Undoubtedly the star of the tournament for the Azzurri so far, scoring four of Italy’s nine goals so far in South Korea.
He made 42 appearances in midfield for Ascoli in Serie B last season, scoring eight times, and will most likely be loaned out to a Serie A side having returned to Juventus this summer.
He was signed by Juventus in January for £8m, but was loaned back until the end of the season, and the natural winger, who regularly cuts in from the right onto his left foot, continues to impress.
Francesco Cassata – age 19 – on loan at Ascoli from Juventus
Orsolini’s team-mate Cassata may be a familiar name to some Liverpool fans, after the midfielder was linked with a move to Anfield in January by the British and Italian press.
The 19-year-old has been nurtured in the Juventus youth academy and impressed on loan at Ascoli last term, playing 36 times.
Sky in Italy reported in January that Cassata was subject of an £8.7m enquiry from Liverpool, but Juventus hold the 19-year-old in high regard.
Federico Dimarco – age 19 – on loan at Empoli from Inter Milan
One of few in Evani’s side with Serie A experience, the left-back played 12 times for Empoli last season, having been on loan at Ascoli in the 2015/16 season.
He’s small and slender, but the 19-year-old is technically and physically impressive, and can play either side of full-back.
He made his debut for Inter at just 17 in 2014, but again is likely to be loaned out for the 2017/18 season to gain more experience.
Luca Vido – age 20 – on loan at Cittadella from AC Milan
Vido’s headed winner in the last eight against Zambia came with Italy down to 10 men for a large chunk of the match, and showed the 20-year-old’s aerial strength as he piled in at the near post.
He scored nine goals in just 14 appearances for AC Milan’s youth side in the first half or last term, before netting at a similar rate on loan at Cittadella in Serie B, scoring four and registering two assists in just three starts.
Nicolo Barella – age 20 – Cagliari
Another Italy youngster linked with a move to the Premier League with Chelsea and Liverpool, Barella made 30 appearances for Serie A side Cagliari last season, impressing in central midfield.
Barella needs refinement, unsurprisingly at barely 20 years of age, but has shown enough last season to suggest a move to one of Italy’s bigger sides this summer.