Luca D’Andrea: The Italian winger making a name for himself in Serie B by Calum Scullion
Name: Luca D’Andrea
Place of birth: Naples
Club: Sassuolo (on loan at Catanzaro)
Position: Right Winger
Italy is going through a very interesting generation of young footballing talent at the moment, having recently won the U19 Euros in July with a squad that contained talents such as Cher Ndour, Niccolo Pisilli and Michael Kayode, however my favourite talent from that squad is a very exciting young winger named Luca D’Andrea.
Luca was born on the 6th of September 2004 in Naples, Italy. He started his football career in the Calcio Azzurri youth club, he was picked up by SPAL in 2018 and progressed himself through their youth teams before moving to Sassuolo in 2022. In the 22/23 season D’andrea made 20 appearances for the Sassuolo Primavera team, scoring 8 goals and providing 6 assists, he made his debut for the Sassuolo first team on the 17th of September 2022 in a 1-0 win over Torino, He went on to make 5 first team appearances last season.
In January 2023 D’Andrea signed a new contract with Sassuolo until 2027, securing his long term future at the club. He joined Catanzaro on a season long loan on the 1st of August 2023 and I’m hopeful he can have a real breakout year in Serie B this season.
So far this season, he has made 6 appearances for Catanzaro, getting an assist and playing a total of 113 minutes. I hope he starts to get more minutes soon but we are still early in the season so I’m sure that opportunities will come for him.
Luca D’Andrea is naturally right winger but he can also play as a Central Attacking Midfielder and i’m sure that he could do a job on the left hand side of the attack as well. The first thing I noticed about his play was his dribbling ability, he showed a good ability to beat opponents with good skill and trickery, he was very good at shifting into space and using a number of feints, ball rolls and other skill moves to progress the ball past opponents and into attacking areas. I was also impressed with the way he showed for the ball, he was able position himself with his back to goal and provide a good forward passing option for his teammates, once he receives the ball he will often turn and look to either find a forward pass into the striker if its available or powerfully drive forward and drag his team up the pitch.
D’Andrea showed impressive glimpses of link up play out wide often combining with an overlapping fullback or midfielders in space, playing good 1-2s and other short passing combinations he was able to keep the play flowing and drag opponents out of their position with short neat passes and quick movements. Luca D’Andrea also gets into good goalscoring positions either with good dribbling or off ball runs, however his shooting was pretty ineffective usually due to bad timing, hesitancy or lack of composure on the ball once in front of goal, he did test the goalkeeper a couple of times but most of his shots were over the bar or he was closed down and the shot was blocked. His crossing was inconsistent, he was able to deliver dangerous and effective balls from a corner or free kick but when in a crowded area out wide his crosses often struggled to beat the first man or were easily intercepted so I would definitely like to see him become more consistent and effective with his crossing.
Off the ball D’Andrea pressed pretty well, he has a good burst of pace and uses that effectively by closing opponents down and trying to win the ball high up the pitch, he was able to intercept the ball and win possession high up the pitch numerous times so this is definitely a good attribute of his game. He made some good runs in behind or off the shoulder of defenders at times and was able to successfully meet long passes and run onto the ball, however to me he does seem like a player that prefers to drop deep and show for the ball rather than constantly make runs.
Overall I think Luca D’Andrea has a very good attacking skillset and his off-ball skills and defensive work-rate are impressive, I do think he needs to become more ruthless and take his chances in front of goal but this should come with more regular exposure to high level football.
Overall evaluation and career future:
Luca D’Andrea is a very good young talent and i’m excited to see what he does in his loan spell at Catanzaro in Serie B this season, I think if he can play regular first team football and just keep developing his game then he can become a very good player capable of playing in the top leagues in Europe.
If he does go on to have a successful season at Catanzaro then it will be very interesting to see what happens when he returns to his parent club Sassuolo next season, it would be great for him to become a regular in their first team and to see if he can play in Serie A regularly.
I will keep a close eye on Luca D’Andrea this season as he is definitely a player that is fun to watch and I’m interested in seeing how his career develops over the next couple of seasons and where he ends up.