Matteo Darmian had a brilliant start to life at Manchester United but has struggled to maintain consistently good form throughout the season.
Ahead of Euro 2016, Greg Lea has discussed the role Darmian plays for Italy. Their first game of Euro 2016 is on Monday against Belgium.
How important is Darmian to Italy?
Darmian was one of Italy’s best players at the World Cup two years ago and remains a key member of the squad. It’s still not clear which formation Antonio Conte will use but, if he goes for a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 as looks likely, Darmian should be good for a starting spot as either the left or right wing-back. Those positions are vital for any side playing three at the back, so he’s likely to be an important figure.
How is Darmian’s time at United viewed in Italy?
I think a lot of people are surprised that he struggled in his first season because he was one of the best players in Serie A when he left. He’s still only 26, though, and most will expect him to come good at Old Trafford – particularly if he’s given the chance to start as first-choice right-back under Jose Mourinho.
How well do you expect Italy to do in the Euros?
Not very well, personally. They’re strong defensively with the Juventus backline and the evergreen Gigi Buffon in goal, but there’s a real lack of star quality in midfield and at the top of the pitch. They’ll have enough to make it out of the group but that could be as far as they go, and they’re unlikely to entertain.