Niccolò Rovella – Juve’s future regista by Davide Gualano
Niccolò Rovella is an Italian midfielder, born in December 2001 and acquired from Juventus in January 2021 for 18 million euros plus 2 of add-ons. He was in Internazionale academy before heading to a minor team academy, then to Genoa in 2017. He’s basically an atypical Regista, because he can play very well that position but in Genoa it’s not his role, therefore he shares that role with the more expert Milan Badelj. That results in playing more on the center-left of the pitch and the developing of different skills other than his vision and incredible passing ability. He doesn’t seem to be 1,79cm and watching him feels like watching a little and weak player, but that’s only an impression.
Last season he played 22 matches for Genoa, starting 14, which resulted in 1,352 minutes of senior football across two competitions. This season he played 36 minutes in the Coppa Italia first match of the season and 90 in the first Serie A game of the season for Genoa (as per 25/08/2021). His passing ability is his strength: in Serie A, across 2020/21 and this season he has attempted 875 passes and completed 744 with a 85,65% of success rate (source: FBREF). Of those attempts 305 were short (5 to 15 yards, approximately 4 to 14 meters) and 353 were medium range (15 to 30 yards, approximately 14 to 28 meters); 197 were long passes (more than 30 yards) which were completed 61,4% across these two seasons. Those type of statistics have to be put into context; FBREF says that he has a 79 percentile in assists, 81 percentile in expected assists, 75 percentile in shot-creating actions, 76 in passes attempted, 37 in progressive passes, 41 in dribbles completed and 53 in progressive carries. All of the above with only an 8 percentile for touches in the attacking penalty area, stunning. For those who don’t know what percentile is, basically in the last mentioned case only the 8% of the considered players touch less in the opponents penalty area. You have to garnish all of this with the 90 percentile for pressure, 85 on blocks, 76 for clearances, 53 in tackles and 51 in interceptions. Not bad for an under 21 with so little senior experience. What stats don’t say is his attitude, Rovella is always moving, always. He always tries to be unmarked and to receive a good ball to manage, also, his time managing is incredible, he can keep the ball and find the right pass, try to carry the ball, or immediately pass it if the pressure is very intense. This skill is helped by his first touch and ability to predict the opponents movements along the way with agility, balance and resilience in maintaining the control. Furthermore if you keep attention to his game, he always talks and does some gesture to claim teammates attention and the ball, another incredible trait for a 19 years old guy.
Rovella, as said previously, doesn’t seem so big on the pitch and seems always tired. The last game (against Internazionale) he was often near Hakan Çalhanoğlu and even if FBREF says the last one is 1,76m, he often looked taller or as tall as Rovella, which in todays game could be a damage to his image. Furthermore if you think that Rovella’s aerial game is at the very least weak, I’ll put things in perspective for you; while he has the 8 percentile in aerials won, Barella’s is 46 percentile being 7cm shorter. That’s clearly an important factor where he should improve if you think that he could be the only pivot right in front of his defense playing as a Regista, so he could be called to do more filter work type. Also FBREF tells us that 93% of his touches and passes come with his right foot and that clearly can be a limit that opponents can use and abuse against him and his side.
Probably is too early but with Juventus not having a proper Regista in its squad, Rovella should have been kept in Turin, surely another year in Genova can be another step for him, even more if Genoa keeps relying on him, as the first game of the new season seems to have shown and nonetheless if he keeps being the key one in midfielder and in building the plays. He’s not a banal player and he’s one to keep an eye on for the future without a doubt. If you want to see a good video of him launching long balls in his Primavera 2019/20 campaign, where he played as a proper regista in front of the defense:
Twitter: @AterAlbus_it article: https://www.ateralbus.it/la-scheda-di-nicolo-rovella/ FBREF: https://fbref.com/en/ twitter: @fbref