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What Eusebio Di Francesco brings to Roma

Wednesday 21st June 2017
Italian managers are renowned for their extremely pragmatic, cautious and tactical approach to the game. But in Eusebio Di Francesco, Roma has landed a coach who bucks that trend, showcasing a unique attractive brand, only envisaged hundreds of miles away in Spain.

When Roma announced in April that highly successful Spanish-born Director of Football, Monchi, will be joining them, we all knew a radical change was imminent. Monchi had masterminded probably the most extraordinary transformation in club football history at Sevilla. His astute knowledge of the game eased Los Blanquirrojos' progress from the Spanish second-tier to a force on the continent, winning the Europa League a record five times, including thrice in the last four seasons.
Clinching over a decade trophies in about 16 years is unquestionably a massive feat for any club. But that wasn't all Monchi brought with him to Andalusia. He helped develop the club's youth system whilst implementing a vast scouting policy inside and outside of Spain. The first gave birth to the likes of Sergio Ramos, Alberto Moreno and José Antonio Reyes with Adriano, Dani Alves, Seydou Keita and Ivan Rakitić all notable products of the latter.

But his greatest coup yet may have been landing Eusebio Di Francesco from Sassuolo. The 47-year-old not only befits his amiable Spanish philosophy but understands that of the Giallorossi as well, having played for the club.

"When we sat down to discuss the ideal candidate for the role of Roma coach, we wanted someone who could come in and get the very best out of our first team players and also help bring through some of the great young talent coming out of our academy," Roma owner, James Pallotta said in a statement"Our new sporting director Monchi singled out Eusebio Di Francesco and, with his style of play, we believe he's the right fit for Roma.”

Indeed, Di Francesco appears to be the perfect fit for Monchi's proposed Roman dynasty. Similar to the Spaniard, the 47-year-old guided Sassuolo, a team languishing in the fringes of Serie B, to qualifying for continental football in barely three seasons. As if that wasn't enough, he further oversaw the successful passage of some of the club's brightest prospects into the first team. Mateo Politano, Simone Zaza and Domenico Berardi amongst many others came through under his tutelage.
But what has got the whole world singing his praises is his entertaining brand of football similar to what is obtainable in Spain. Throughout his time at Sassuolo, he exhibited an unbelievable appetite for attack and never attempted to take his foot off the pedal irrespective of the pedigree of his opponents. His teams thrive in a fluid flowing attacking, yet balanced style with defensive coverage that closes spaces quickly – a feature Roma's spritely backline will have little issue in adapting to. It is a philosophy uncommon among his countrymen, such that his predecessor Spalletti acknowledged: "Di Francesco is one of the coaches who has made Italian football more attractive."

At a time a three-man defence has become the in thing, Di Francesco is still clinging to the basics, by playing with four. "I prefer a four-man defence, as I only ever used three at the back when it was absolutely necessary," he said. And when it comes to enthusiasm and charisma, the 47-year-old will certainly get the Stadio Olympico in a rapturous mood once again. His epic goal celebrations, touchline antics and energy in the dugout will present extra incentives to the fans.

From his personal understanding of how to win a title to his adaptability and ability to absorb the pressure of the city and media, Di Francesco's appointment offers the promise of a new and exciting Roma.
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 

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