With just over a week remaining until the Azzurri’s decisive World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Albania, National Team coach Gian Piero Ventura today visited the Giulio Onesti Olympic Centre in Rome, taking part in a CONI School of Sport seminar entitled ‘The importance of tactical elements in team and individual sports’.
In front of a youthful and passionate audience, made up of pupils signed up to the course and also students of the National Sporting School in Rome, Ventura spoke of his recent experience as Azzurri boss and also the differences between coaching domestic clubs and the National team. Working on the international stage means he now has less time to work with players, while one must also take into account their different methods of play after arriving from their own various clubs. The experienced tactician also highlighted the difficulties in only working with your players at certain points of the season and how important it is to gradually introduce younger players to the squad. This helps encourage generational change and enlarge the group of young players who are capable of playing for the National Team.
This path of reinvigoration is one that has been heavily implemented by the Italian Football Federation, working with Italian clubs and also involving the National Youth Teams. Thanks to training camps over the past year, which will be taking place once again over the next few months, the average age of the National Team has been reduced. In comparison to Ventura’s first friendly against France in September 2016 (average squad age of 31 years), the most recent World Cup qualifier against Israel on September 5th saw an Azzurri outfit which had an average age of 29.6. The lowest has age average was during a friendly against the Netherlands in March (26.7). Furthermore, during his first year in the job, Ventura has handed a total of 12 players their first debuts with the National Team.
During the seminar put on by Rossana Ciuffetti, who is the Director of the CONI School of Sport Services, there were also a number of other high profile figures present, including: Head coach of the National Men’s Volleyball team Gianlorenzo Blengini, Technical Director of the Italian Triathlon Federation Joel Filliol and also the delegate for the Laboratory of Methodology and Biomechanics applied to football in the FIGC’s Technical Sector at Coverciano Carlo Castagna.
The photo displays Ventura alongside Wednesday’s students