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Review of AC Milan Primavera’s future stars: Part 1 – Daniele Maldini

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In our mid-season review of Milan’s Primavera team, we lifted three players, who, in our opinion, are the closest to reaching the senior squad. Daniel Maldini, Luan Capanni and Marco Brescianini.

This is the first post in a series of three where these three players will be profiled-starting with Daniel Maldini.

As the grandson of Cesare and son of Paolo, he is of royal descent in the clan of Rossonero; the third step in a historic line. But this season, for every game that he plays, Daniel Maldini is gradually creating his own body.

Character and ability set

He was one of the most impactful players in this season’s Primavera, where he took on the role of strategic orchestrator primarily from his CAM spot in the 4-2-3-1. In deploying him centrally, coach Federico Giunti has maximized Maldini Jr. much more this season as opposed to last season, when he appeared mostly on either side.

The skillset Daniel has for the game rests mostly in his hand and touches the ball. That’s the main reason he’s having more out of his game this season compared to last season.

Rather than concentrating on the tastes of one-on – one duels, crossing and depending on small momentum, he takes more time with the ball to play, creates spaces for his teammates, and shoots.

The results are evidence of this: he has scored 8 goals and helped 5 in 12 games throughout all contests this season. This is a goal allocation even higher than last year, except for 13 fewer games. He was a prominent player and a star for a rejuvenated Primavera.

Not only does Maldini distinguish from most of the Primavera team by producing its numbers, it’s also his maturity in deciding both on and off the ball, his way of thinking about soccer and his technical skills.

Luan Capanni and midfielder Marco Brescianini are the few that are on par with him. There’s a reason why Maldini was selected to be on the bench for Stefano Pioli’s first team and prepare. He’s done ready and the first team has already begun the transition to Hellas Verona for the final few seconds of the 1-1 draw on Sunday.

The maturity level of Daniel says a lot because of the extra weight he has on him simply because of his surname. In the Rossonero culture the expectations are high only by the nickname he wears on the back of his shirt. But he seems uncomfortable; and he seems determined rather to show that this is what he can do, and not the name on his back.

He is always one of the hardest-working players for the Primavera. He moves around to collect the ball to bring it up on the ground, he presses hard when he’s in defense out of possession. He is always fighting for the goal, making and earning.

He doesn’t count on chances because he is the son of a legend from former Milan and the actual technical director. He’s hard at winning his chances, just like the other young Primavera weapons.

Improvement areas

However, as with every match, changes are always required. In the case of Maldini, there is mainly one: physicality.

As stated before, Maldini is his best while he has the ball at his feet. He might, however, boost his body strength to enable himself better fight his enemies. Today, he appears to get a little easily knocked off the pitch.

His overall game would really be more muscular. It would help him in defensive as well as offensive duels and could give him more time on the ball if he could better retain his opponents. Time to improve the consistency of his final product and strategic orchestrating at the end of the day.

Maldini also could strengthen his close control at high speed. Occasionally, he looks distracted and loses control of the ball while he’s on the field-although he’s improved markedly since last year. Nonetheless, this is something that will change with time, preparation, age and experience.

Maldini may usually be considered one of the best stars from Primavera in recent years. Especially now when his rightful place is used. Last season he has seen considerable improvement, and the fact that he was with the club during the whole pre-saison and was on the roster last season is testimony to an appreciation of his ability and development from coaching and management.

After seeing Christian–Daniel’s nephew–leave Milan in 2016, it now seems that the legacy of the Maldini family is likely to remain in Milan. Daniel Maldini builds his own reputation and for every game he plays he sets himself apart from the rest of Maldini. A prediction: the just-turned 18-year-old is a bright future ahead.

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