Davide Santon 22 Defender Newcastle United Italy
2013 has been…
Divisive. Here at IBWM Towers we only ever argue about two things; music and Davide Santon.
On one side you have one of the editors who for argument’s sake we’ll call ‘Jeff’. He reckons in time Santon will be a mainstay of the Italy defence and a potential future international captain. ‘Jeff’ also believes that music was shot repeatedly in the mid-nineties and has been struggling through a long and drawn out death ever since.
On the other side is another one of the editing team who for arguments sake we’ll call ‘Dave’. He has never seen Santon as anything other than bang average and questions his inclusion in the 100 at least once a month, which then starts the argument anew. ‘Dave’ also loves Biology by Girls Aloud.
So where does the truth lay? Well, as ever with such things, probably somewhere in between. On paper he’s come through last season as statistically one of the best in his position in the league at what has been, at times, a basket case of a club. The problem is when watching him those good stats aren’t always born out by the performance; a reluctance to shoot in good positions, an oft-wasted final ball, a mistimed challenge, a failure to pick the right run both in defence and attack, repeat to fade.
But there is also much to admire in his game, a willingness to take the ball and carry it forward always evident and his great pace makes most defensive situations recoverable and attacking positions dangerous. He has also achieved a good level of consistency - a 6 out of 10 player week in and week out - and while that may not be setting hipster hearts a flutter he’s often been good in a side that have often been bad. Regardless of the arguments this is a good player but one with faults in his game, age and experience will bring better decisions and smooth over some of the rougher edges.
So a steady 12 months and we’ll call it a C to stop our editing team from fighting. Now if we could only get them to agree on the office radio station.
When Santon first emerged onto the scene at Inter there was a huge buzz around a player with composure far beyond his tender years. Injury and form burst the bubble in equal measure but his consistency has not gone unnoticed in Italy. AC Milan may not be shopping in Beverly Hills anymore but they are still a name that carries huge weight in the football world and they maintain an interest in bringing him back to his home country.
An international call-up would also surely court more admiring glances from Serie A and we hope Cesare Prandelli is sending a scout to St James Park (we will never call it the Sports Direct Arena or the Joe Kinnear Thunderdome) to check on him. It may be that this summer is his last in England, particularly if he can raise that 6 out of 10 to a seven and get closer to the World Cup squad. Both for and against in the IBWM camp will look on with great interest, after all they both have money and pride on what happens next…
“Brilliant” – ‘Jeff’, IBWM
“Rubbish” – ‘Dave’, IBWM
“Overlooked by the Azzurri, he seems to have gotten lost under a mass of Joe Kinnear jokes at Newcastle. Deserves closer attention as he blossoms into one of the most underrated fullbacks around” – Adam Digby, ESPN
"The Italian full-back has had more touches in the Premier League this season than any other Newcastle United player (809)." - Opta
C Good progress, good player, anything more than that? Yet to be seen