Inter-owned Empoli striker Andrea Pinamonti feels that he benefited greatly from his season with the Nerazzurri last season.

Speaking to Italian broadcaster DAZN, Pinamonti spoke about the importance of working under Antonio Conte while he played in the senior team of his parent club last campaign.

Pinamonti has been spending this season on loan with Empoli, and he’s enjoyed something of a breakout campaign with the newly-promoted team, already besting his own record for goals scored in a season.

The 22-year-old has been virtually ever-present in the Tuscans’ starting eleven, which is a far cry from the situation last season when he rarely even made appearances from the bench under Conte.

For some young players this lack of playing time can be a worry time, but Pinamonti feels that simply being in the squad and working with Conte helped him a lot, and his displays this season would appear to bear this out.

“Often people tell me that it was a lost season, but I grew a lot,” he said. “I knew I would find playing time hard to come by, there was a lot of attacking quality there already.”

“I knew I wouldn’t play much but I made this choice because being coached by Antonio Conte, I knew I could learn a lot,” he continued.

“It was an important period for me,” he emphasized. :I didn’t lose a year, I learned a lot from the coach and my teammates.”

Pinamonti named one team as particularly influential in his development, Romelu Lukaku, calling the Belgian a “Gentle giant. Big and strong, but one of the nicest people.”

“There are no big stories,” he said of his time with the current Chelsea striker, who he characterized as a “very calm person with whom I have fun and positive memories.”

“He saw that it wasn’t easy for me to go the year without playing,” Pinamonti said of Lukaku, ” but even a laugh and some advice from him always made me happy.”

On the best advice he received from Lukaku, Pinamonti named “How to use my physique, which was his weapon. He saw that I had the physique as an attacker, and I could use it the way he does.”