Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni has won praise for his intelligent performance to help Italy beat Ecuador in a friendly match.

Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, highlights the 24-year-old’s positionally savvy display.

Bastoni has been a regular starter for the Italian national team for some time now.

Particularly with the retirement of veterans like Girogio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the Inter defender has stepped into the mantle of a first-choice defender for the Azzurri.

But if there has been one issue for Bastoni in playing for the national team, it has been his position in a back four.

The 24-year-old is a defender whose qualities best suit a back-three system.

That has been ideal at Inter. Playing under both Antonio Conte and Simone Inzaghi, Bastoni has played on the left of the defense.

But for Italy, it has usually been a back four. Therefore, Bastoni has played as one of two centre-backs in the middle.

Alessandro Bastoni Praised For Intelligent Display In Italy Win Vs Ecuador

Yesterday against Ecuador, however, Italy coach Luciano Spalletti decided to change things up.

The former Inter, Roma, and Napoli coach switched to a 3-4-2-1 system.

Spalletti himself confirmed that his intention was partly to get the best out of the Inter players in the team playing in their natural positions.

This meant that versatile Nerazzurri defender Matteo Darmian played on the right of the back three.

And it also meant that Bastoni started on the left.

And in the view of the Gazzetta, Bastoni thrived by replicating the way that he plays for his club.

The former Atalanta and Parma defender did do his defensive work very well by and large. Bastoni’s positional awareness, anticipation of danger, and man-marking were all solid.

And then Bastoni had an important role in Italy’s possession phase, with a little more licenese to push forward than if he were playing in a back four.