Former Parma coach Alberto Malesani discussed the players that have impressed him the most so far this season in an interview on Roma’s official website earlier today.
“Starting with defenders I’d say Kumbulla, a very interesting central defender who grew up here in Verona.
“As for the midfielders, Barella has something more than others. Among strikers, I like Papu Gomez and Lukaku a lot. But they are less young.”
The 23-year-old Barella, who is contracted to the Nerazzurri until 2024, joined the club from fellow Italian side Cagliari last summer, quickly impressing coach Antonio Conte.
The player made 41 appearances across all competitions, for a total of 3085 minutes, a first team regular under the former Chelsea and Juventus boss. In that time, he scored four goals and provided eight assists, being noted for his tireless work rate and possession retention.
Barella has continued to be a core part of Conte’s squad this season, appearing in all eight games so far this season, playing a total of 582 minutes. He has provided three assists in that time.
The 23-year-old Italian is set to be a key element in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad in next summer’s European Championships, after having made his debut for the Azzurri in October of 2018.