In an interview with Italian news outlet Passione Inter, former Inter goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi, has shared his thoughts on Inter and other former employers Torino ahead of this weekend’s clash between the two sides.
“Conte’s team have drawn a few too many games. Last season was fantastic with a crescendo ending,” Castellazzi began.
“In this first part of the season it was more difficult especially in terms of the results but from the point of view of the way the team have played, we can not complain. Torino, on the other hand, are really struggling, they are one of the most disappointing teams so far.”
Castellazzi then went on to speak about what it was like to be the understudy to both Julio Cesar and Samir Handanovic during his spell with the club.
“I got on very well with both of them, we are talking about two different characters. Julio is always smiling, he is one of those Brazilians who makes himself heard. Samir is a great professional, he is a silent leader.
“I got along well with both of them. Julio is more acrobatic and reactive, Samir more structured, a hard worker even with his feet he has improved a lot, but he arrived at a downhill Inter.”
Castellazzi then addressed the criticism that Handanovic has been subjected to this season by portions of the Italian media and fans.
“The Nerazzurri fans are wary because there have been few shots on goal and many goals conceded. Samir has always worked miracles and will continue to do them.
“Maybe it was a transition month, we certainly can’t blame him. He is not a goalkeeper in decline. I hope that Radu and Stankovic also have their chance but Handanovic remains at the top.”
Castellazzi then spoke on who he thinks should be Handanovic’s heir.
“Each goalkeeper has their own place. Stankovic is young and we shouldn’t rush him even though he is one of the most promising at youth level. Musso at Udinese has shown ample room for growth, Cragno had a shoulder problem but remains a valid goalkeeper and is in the Italian national team.
“If I have to say one name I will say Meret, he is 23 and has a long career ahead of him. He is very good, he is beautiful to look at and has all the characteristics to be the goalkeeper of a great team.”
Next the 45-year-old spoke on the importance of Inter striker Romelu Lukaku to the Nerazzurri: “Lukaku is a point of reference, both on and off the pitch. Despite his size, he is fast. He is a champion and an example also in the locker room, players like him are needed to increase the level of the team.”
Castellazzi, who spent four years with Inter between 2010 and 2014, then spoke on Inter attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has consistently struggled since his arrival at the club.
“Signing Eriksen was a big signing in January, that cannot be denied. At first he struggled to find a tactical position in the 3-5-2 and this year when he has been called into question he did not do well.
“In the national team he scores and does better because he is still the leader of Denmark. The coach always chooses for the good of the team, it’s a shame because he would be a resource but probably now there are some players who give Conte more guarantees.”
Castellazzi then briefly praised Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella: “He shows quality in every match, he is one of the absolute tops of this Inter.”
He then reflected on his personal experience at Inter: “I was lucky enough to be in a great team. It was a wonderful experience both from a sporting and a human point of view. I was also afraid at the beginning, I came from an average reality like that of Sampdoria, but I met special and unique people. Inter has remained in my heart.”
In conclusion Castellazi shared his beliefs in terms of where can Conte’s Inter go: “Last year the team came close to winning the Europa League. However, the foundations for growth have been laid, Conte is the right man to give consistency, one thing that has been missing at Inter in recent years. Now there are clear ideas and a winning cycle can be opened. It may be the right year.”