Inter Milan have started the season in blistering fashion, picking up 13 points from a possible 15 to sit atop the table. This is in stark contrast to what many predicted will be a tough year after the departures of Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.
5️⃣ #SerieA 💎 matches
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) September 22, 2021
New manager Simone Inzaghi has marshalled his troops superly, with the addition of proven talents in Edin Dzeko, Joaquin Correa and Hakan Calhanoglu. However, it has been the form of a returning player that has gone under the radar but has been equally important. Federico Dimarco has seamlessly slotted into the lineup after an 18-month loan spell with Hellas Verona.
Federico DiMarco this season:
3 goals, 3 assists – 23 years old
Ashley Young this season:
0 goals, 2 assists – 35 years old
Should Inter bring back DiMarco who's on loan at Verona⁉️ pic.twitter.com/Tpz5H7qmIb
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) January 24, 2021
The left-sided wingback who has also played at centre back once is a useful utility man, able to deliver from the bench as well as in the starting 11.
TWO IN ONE PLAYER
Dimarco’s unique versatility makes him something of a special player. Last season with Hellas, he played on the left side of a three-man defence and of the midfield. He made 35 appearances which produced five goals and three assists, after spending the final six months of the 2019-20 campaign with them.
Left-back Federico Dimarco with a strike that Robin van Persie would be proud of 🚀 pic.twitter.com/TuNUIdiI8C
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 6, 2021
Dimarco’s proficiency has seen him become a much sought after player due to his ability to combine two important elements. One might be tempted to think that since he plays two roles, one side of his game might suffer. That has not been the case at all as his stats show from 2020-21. He has had 3.64 shot-creating actions, 5.07 progressive passes made and 2.44 touches in the opposition’s penalty area (all P90).
Federico Dimarco’s 2020/21 Serie A season for Verona:
66 key passes
69 chances created
Yet another beneficiary of Ivan Jurić’s system enjoying a breakout season on loan from Inter.
On the move? pic.twitter.com/aKgiPAtQPO
— Matt Santangelo 🤌🏼 (@Matt_Santangelo) May 4, 2021
That places Dimarco in the high 80th and 90th percentile amongst players of his position from Europe. Of course, when one compares these to defenders over the last year, his true all-rounded game comes to light. 25/40 of his tackles ended with Hellas winning the ball while he has a passing accuracy of over 70%.
GRAZIE VERONA ! 🟡🔵 @HellasVeronaFC
— Federico Dimarco (@FDimarco) May 27, 2021
The latter one increases to 84% over short and medium distances, indicating Dimarco is not afraid of the ball at his feet and able to carry it over distances. Furthermore, his five goals came from an xG of 2.3 and just 14 shots on-target. This is not to say that Dimarco cannot be relied upon entirely over one position.
🎤 Simone Inzaghi, "Federico Dimarco? Dimarco did really well at Verona. He's an Inter academy product, which is something to be proud of. He's a player the club and I are counting on." pic.twitter.com/dac4FBKchv
— Raffaele (@ItalianoCalcio) July 8, 2021
Rather his game has been moulded in such a manner that he can make an impact within a short time. His powerful shot and deadly accuracy when in a good position makes him a strong asset. It is no surprise that Inzaghi was keen to work with Dimarco this season, to battle with Ivan Perisic for the left slot.
The 23-year-old has moved around a bit over the years, playing with three clubs over the last four seasons, including with Sion in Switzerland. With the Nerazzurri this term, out of the five games, he has only two starts.
— Federico Dimarco (@FDimarco) September 12, 2021
However, he has already had three goal contributions (one goal and two assists) while appearing as a centre back only once. That has seen him already outperform his xG (0.4) and xA (1.1) which indicates this might finally be the year to establish himself as a key figure at the club. Moreover, Dimarco has already figured in nine shot-creating actions along with one goal-creating action.
If Inter let Hakimi go they might aswell let Federico Dimarco cause havoc on the opposite wing next season, in terms of being progressive and creating chances he's among the very best in his position. pic.twitter.com/bLaQBCqWUe
— Marcus Bring (@MarcusBr22) June 1, 2021
With Matteo Darmian having moved to the right and the departure of Ashley Young from the left, he will have a great chance to make a sizable impact as they push for the defence of the title. His passing range has remained consistent from last season i.e. over 85% over medium and short areas, but his overall game has improved given the quality of players around him.
— Federico Dimarco (@FDimarco) August 21, 2021
Dimarco can push forward and deliver crosses into the box while he can also tuck into the spaces left by the central midfielders. This is way too early into the season of course, but the signs are all there that he can develop into a starter as the games go on. He might not be the savviest name in the team or the most well-known but his usefulness cannot be questioned.
STRENGTH IN DEPTH
Inter have put their best foot forward, and coupled with Juventus’ fledgling form means that they can build a good lead. Dimarco knows that he will not be starting every match but his adept nature in attack, as well as defensive solidity, gives Inzaghi options. He can afford to rest key players knowing the Dimarco can fill in more than ably.