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From backup squad player to undisputed starter for Italy.

Why was Leandro Spinazzoola such a huge success at the Euros? The 28 year old Roma full back was a roaring success at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. Due to his eye-catching performances from the opening game of the tournament against Turkey where he won man of the match to the final game he played in against Belgium. Spinazzola was allowed to prosper this tournament due to Italy manager Roberto Mancicni’s system which prioritised possession and quick final third passing which played into the full backs skill set.

Throughout the tournament Spinazzola was an outlet for the Italians as he pushed very high on the left flank in possession and always seemed to be left unmarked. This could be seen in Italy’s third goal against Turkey where his clever positioning was a real problem for the defence. Spinazzola's pace meant he was also able to get into his defensive position alongside Chiellini very quickly and therefore did not leave Italy’s left flank open to attack.

Another important reason for his good tournament was his almost telepathic relationship with 30 year old Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne. Insigne has a tendency to cut inside onto his right foot as seen in his wonderful solo effort against Belgium which ended up being the match winner. This often allowed Spinazzola to remain wide and be given space as Insigne’s runs meant he was in acres of space on the left flank.

The ex Juventus player had his tournament cut short in the quarter final against Belgium after suffering a torn Achilles tendon but has vowed to ‘Come back stronger’ after surgery for next season and new Roma boss Jose Mouinho will certainly hope so.One might wonder if Spinazzola did not get injured if he would have won player of the tournament instead of the equally impressive shot stopping abilities of his team mate Gianluigi Donnarumma but as a consolation at least he was included in Uefa’s team of the tournament.

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