Nazionale U21

Barbieri: “A dream to be here representing Italy”

From the Under-17 World Cup to the Under-21s: “The Coach asks me to get lots of crosses in”

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Barbieri: “A dream to be here representing Italy”

Tommaso Barbieri is a new face in the Under-21 squad, who are currently in Romagna preparing for their upcoming Euro qualifying matches against San Marino (18:30 CET on Thursday in Serravalle) and the Republic of Ireland (Tuesday 21 November in Cork, same kick-off time). Barbieri has been known to many people for a number of years now, ever since Simone Banchieri handed him his professional debut at Novara at the age of 17. Although they were in Serie C, the Piedmont-based outfit played friendlies against AC Milan and Juventus, the latter of whom became the club Tommaso made his Champions League and Serie A debut with.

Carmine Nunziata knew him, too, naming him in his squad for the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019 (the Azzurrini were eliminated by the hosts in the quarter-finals). Now, the same Head Coach has called him up for the U21s: “It’s a dream for me to be here representing Italy,” said the defender. “I’ll give everything to help my teammates, which is something I try to do every day at club level.” Alberto Aquilani is in charge of Pisa: “He’s an excellent coach who wants us to keep hold of the ball. Meanwhile, Nunziata likes to get it forward to the strikers quickly. However, my job on the pitch remains the same.”

Born in Magenta, Lombardy, Barbieri developed at Gambolò (Pavia) before playing for Vigevano, Sparta Novara and Novara. After spending three seasons with Juventus next Gen, he currently finds himself on loan at Pisa from Juventus: “Obviously, Juventus are on my mind and being part of such a great club is a dream, but, more than anything else, I want to focus on the present right now. Playing alongside professionals early on certainly helped me.”

Apart from when he played a bit further up the pitch during his very early playing days, he’s always been a right-back: “I’ll obviously play where the Coach wants me to. I could also be used at left-back, although a few crosses would probably go wrong (he laughed, Ed.). I’m available to my coaches. Full-backs are important both defensively and attacking-wise, and Nunziata asks us to send a lot of crosses into the box. The person I look up to? Right now, Joao Cancelo, although it’ll be difficult to reach his level.”

Squad list

Sebastiano Desplanches (Palermo), Jacopo Sassi (Pro Vercelli), Gioele Zacchi (Giana Erminio)
 Tommaso Barbieri (Pisa), Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), Diego Coppola (Verona), Daniele Ghilardi (Sampdoria), Samuel Giovane (Ascoli), Gabriele Guarino (Empoli), Lorenzo Pirola (Salernitana), Riccardo Turicchia (Juventus), Mattia Zanotti (St.Gallen)
Midfielders: Alessandro Bianco (Reggiana), Edoardo Bove (Roma), Cesare Casadei (Leicester), Giovanni Fabbian (Bologna), Jacopo Fazzini (Empoli), Fabio Miretti (Juventus), Cher Ndour (Paris Saint Germain), Matteo Prati (Cagliari)
 Giuseppe Ambrosino (Catanzaro), Lorenzo Colombo (Monza), Francesco Pio Esposito (Spezia), Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds United), Luca Koleosho (Burnley), Cristian Volpato (Sassuolo)

Thursday 16 November
San Marino vs. Italy (Serravalle, live on Rai 2)
Venerdì 17 November
18:00: Norway vs. Rep. of ireland
Tuesday 21 November
17:45: Turkey vs. Norway
18:30: Rep. of Ireland vs. Italy (Cork, live on Rai 2)
All times are CET

Table (games played in brackets): Rep. of Ireland (3) 9, ITALY (3) and Latvia (5) 7, Norway (3) 6, Turkey (4) 3, San Marino (4) 0

Friday 22 March 2024: Italy vs. Latvia
Tuesday 26 March: Italy vs. Turkey 
Thursday 5 September: Italy vs. San Marino
Tuesday 10 September: Norway vs. Italy
Tuesday 15 October: Italy vs. Rep. of Ireland