Nazionale U21

The Azzurrini set to go again with Nicolato in charge: “The primary objective is to prepare the youngsters for the senior side”

The new Under-21 Head Coach was presented at the FIGC's headquarters today: “Maximum synergy with Mancini, we'll try to play the football the Head Coach wants”

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Azzurrini set to go again with Nicolato in charge: “The primary objective is to prepare the youngsters for the senior side”

To bring consistency to the results already achieved within the youth setup and nurture the players with whom he came second at the Under-19 European Championship in 2018 and fourth in the Under-20 World Cup in Poland last month. This is the objective of Paolo Nicolato, the man who has been chosen as Luigi Di Biagio’s successor as the Head Coach of the Under-21 National Team.

Nicolato, who will appear in the dugout for the first time against Luxembourg on 10 September as the Azzurrini kick off their Euro qualifying campaign, was presented at the FIGC headquarters in Rome today. FIGC President Gabriele Gravina had the following to say: “He’s someone who we’ve come to admire in recent years, because of his human and professional qualities. With this choice, we’re aiming to bring consistency and accompany the development process of our players.” Having been involved with the Italy setup since 2016, Nicolato can’t wait to dive into this new adventure: “I’ve been doing this work for 30 years, my journey has been a very long one. But maybe for the first time I’m now in a position to drive a car of a certain level.”

Italy will have to put the disappointment of being eliminated at the group stage of the European Championship on home soil behind them, with the defeat to Poland proving costly for Luigi Di Biagio’s side, who missed out on a place in both the semi-finals and the Olympic Games in Tokyo because of this: “I hope to continue the good work which was done by Di Biagio, someone who I feel warmly towards,” said Nicolato during the press conference. “My primary objective remains to prepare the young lads so that they can make the step up to the senior side.”

The beginning of this new two-year period will be marked with maximum collaboration with Roberto Mancini’s National Team, with the Azzurri’s Head Coach having shown a willingness to believe a lot in youngsters: “The synergy between myself and Mancini should be and is at a maximum. We’ll try to play the way the Head Coach wants us to, our game principles will be in keeping with the senior side.”

In recent years, the Azzurri’s youth teams have achieved excellent results and reached various finals, often just failing to get their hands on a trophy. One person who’s aware of this is Nicolato, who just missed out on becoming a European champion last year as his Italy side suffered defeat against Portugal in extra time. Furthermore, the Under-20s had a goal chalked off in added time in their World Cup semi-final clash against Ukraine last month: “Everyone likes winning,” the new Under-21 Head Coach continued. “And, in addition to helping the youngsters, it’s important to also obtain good results. As regards our youth teams, we’ve managed to achieve consistency in terms of where we finish in tournaments. In the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the same group, and this has allowed me to get to know the lads well and develop them. I’m highly confident because I know it’s a group with great quality.”


Born in Lonigo in the province of Vicenza on 21 December 1966, Paolo Nicolato was a centre-forward in amateur football before dedicating himself to a coaching career that began in 1987. He started out as the assistant coach of Maddalena Mazza Grand Prix in Verona with their Giovanissimi Regionali side. After training San Martino and Bussolengo in Women’s Serie D between 1988 and 1993, he acquired his licence as a second category coach. Between 1994 and 2004, he coached the Chievo youth sides before moving up to their Under-19 side for the 2012-13 season. He was then assistant coach for Chievo in the 2012-13 Serie A season alongside Corini before returning to the U-19 side, leading them to the 2013-14 Primavera title.

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