Achraf Hakimi is a worthy successor to Maicon on Inter’s right wing, according to the Nerazzurri’s former head coach Andrea Stramaccioni.
The Moroccan international has excelled since his arrival from Real Madrid last summer, contributing six goals and six assists to Inter’s cause in all competitions this season.
Maicon has revealed he is impressed with Hakimi’s form under Antonio Conte and now the 22-year-old has received Strama’s approval too.
“Hakimi is one of the stars of this Inter side,” Stramaccioni, who coached Maicon during his 14-month tenure in charge at Inter, told Gazzetta dello Sport today.
“He sometimes reminds me of the danger that Maicon caused in the treble-winning team.
“When you call upon Hakimi to change the game, you know that danger can be generated.
“He’s becoming ever more decisive for Inter in the final third.”
Former Udinese boss Stramaccioni also had words of praise for Christian Eriksen, who is expected to start Sunday’s Milan derby as he continues his positive run of form.
“I hope Conte continues to play him,” Strama added.
“I have always said and thought that Eriksen, once he got into the system, could be the man capable of changing things in the Nerazzurri’s midfield.
“In Italy a new player is expected to immediately make the difference, but it takes time to settle into Conte’s team which is so organised and drilled, unlike at Tottenham Hotspur where Eriksen had freedom.
“If the Dane didn’t start in the derby, I would be a bit disappointed and it would be a step back for Inter’s potential development.”
Stramaccioni also discussed some duels that he believes will be key in the Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan, with particular praise for Eriksen’s fellow midfielders Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella.
“The battle between Romelu Lukaku and Alessio Romagnoli and the one involving Stefan de Vrij and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will both be very important,” he argued.
“Often these matches are decided in midfield, though.
“Brozovic is the key man who dictates play for Inter, while Barella is the Nerazzurri’s engine and is an extraordinary player.
“He is doing great things and is improving from game to game.”
Stramaccioni also touched upon the clash between Lukaku and Ibrahimovic during last month’s Coppa Italia quarter-final, which the Italian Football Federation are still investigating.
“Right now they are the two undisputed stars of Inter and AC Milan,” he continued.
“The last round was won by Lukaku, but it is also true that these are the games in which Zlatan makes the difference.
“Their focus will be on the match and making their team win, which is the only thing that matters.
“It’s difficult to imagine there being no fallout from the row though because it happened so recently.”