Gigio Donnarumma at PSG. Guglielmo Vicario with Tottenham. Italian goalkeeping is currently enjoying a revival across Europe. Yet for Achille Coser, the impact of local talent across the game could be even greater...
Now 41 and having hung up his gloves, Coser keeps a keen eye on the development of Italian goalkeepers. A former Serie A No1 with little Novara and promotion winner with Cesena, Coser believes more could be done for local keeper talent in Serie A. A veteran of over 140 games with Albinoleffe primarily in Serie B, Coser saw plenty of young prospects given their chance outside of Italy's top-flight before hitting a brick wall when it came to opportunities in Serie A.
Speaking with Tribalfootball.com in this Q&A, Coser passionately discusses the goalkeeping fraternity in Italy and what he believes can be done to help the talent now being produced to fulfil it's potential. Achille also touches on his time in Serie B and the opportunities he had to share a pitch with the likes of Diego Milito and Paulo Dybala.
“Yes, in every team I have been I learned a lot and I felt great. The best experience for me was Cesena, where I played a lot of matches there and I won the title.
"But after we reached Serie A, I felt very disappointed with the club that they didn't buy me and I was obligated to leave.
"Regarding the worst experience, I can say Sudtirol because after the Cesena experience, I lost my desire to play and it affected me a lot from my mental perspective that's why after I returned home to Albinoleffe, I chose to play there until I finished my career."
You must have faced some famous players early in their careers in Serie B?
“Oh yes, I can tell you different names like Abel Hernandez of Palermo, Andrea Belotti of Palermo, Dybala of Palermo! Then there was Simone Verdi of Empoli, Diego Milito of Genoa. It's very difficult for me to say one name because there were many great strikers who I played against."
And you did had that season with Novara in Serie A...
“I can remember the first match, it was against Fiorentina in Florence, and we were in a relegation battle. Fiorentina dominated the match, and we with two counterattacks scored two goals but in the end, Fiorentina earned a point due to a penalty. We were in a relegation battle until the last minute of the season, but in the end, we were relegated and Fiorentina not because we lost the last match against Milan and Fiorentina won against Lecce.
"Regarding my first match, I had a lot of emotions in the beginning but from the moment we entered the field I didn't have these feelings. I was ready and fully focused towards the game. I think this came also due to age because when you are 18-19 years old you feel it more but when you are 30 years old or older you can manage it differently."
So what about today's goalkeeping talent in Italy? You must be impressed?
"From last season until now the keeper who has surprised me the most in a positive way is Michele Di Gregorio of Monza. From the first match I played against him in Serie C, I noticed him and I was sure he would have a great career due to his qualities. The most surprising thing about him is that he passed from Serie B to Serie A and he has continued to raise his performance so much and continued to be determining factor for his team.
"Regarding a surprising negative, I can say Marco Carnesecchi with Atalanta. I thought in the beginning that he would impose himself in Serie A, but until now he hasn't managed to be consistent in his performances. Also, I would say that a goalkeeper who isn't imposing himself not due to his qualities but because for me he is not compatible with the team he is playing for is Juan Musso of Atalanta.
"A thing that I don't like is that we have good and talented Italian goalkeepers in Serie B but they don't get the chance they deserve because the teams of Serie A give these chances to foreign goalkeepers."
But what about the talent below Serie A? There's a certain former Leeds keeper now making a name for himself...
"Yes, regarding last year I would say Elia Caprile (now with Empoli on-loan from Napoli) at Bari had a fantastic season there and for me, he is a very good goalkeeper. Another keeper who has impressed me is Elhan Kastrati (Cittadella), he is very solid and stable in his performances.
What about the Azzurri? Is Donnarumma still the best Italy has?
"For me, Donnarumma paid for the situation that was created regarding his transfer from Milan to PSG, and I think he and his agent didn't manage the situation correctly. And that has put the keeper of PSG in a bad situation in the eyes of Italy's fans because every time his name is mentioned he is linked to money.
"We should not forget that, as thanks to Donnarumma we won Euro 2020 due to his performances. He has shown what a great keeper he is, but the fans due to that situation have created a bad image for him. And there are some journalists wanting more views on their websites so they speak badly about him.
"Okay he has made some mistakes and will make other mistakes or have a bad performance in the future, but these things happen, he is also a human being like everyone else."
You've won promotion yourself - who do you like this season in Serie B?
"I think Parma has a great team and they are the favourites to win this season and return to Serie A. To have success in Serie B you need to have players that are very good from a physical point of view due to the physicality of the league. If you think that only by playing qualities you can succeed in Serie B you are wrong.
"A team that wants to win the league and get back into Serie A needs to have a mix of quality and great physical aspects. Also, this season there's teams like Catanzaro that play very well. "But important teams like Pisa, Bari, and Sudtirol are in difficulties and have not been stable. And there is a major team like Sampdoria who has started a long-term project with new owners, new coaches, and new players and I think we need to give time to them regarding the results.
"Instead, Como has an important project and ambitious owners who are doing things as needed and the results are showing it."
And what about a highlight - or low-light - from Serie A this season?
"For me the biggest surprise is Napoli, I can't believe they would perform like this in the current season. Also, Milan and Roma have had different problems but for me, this is more due to the injuries they have had during the season.
"For me, Inter is the strongest team and will win the title, the only thing about them is that they are dependent on Lautaro Martinez too much. Instead regarding Juventus, I think they have found this year the right tactical system and put the players in their best position and the results are coming.
"So as I said in the beginning the biggest surprise for me is Napoli and also now with the changing of the coach with Walter Mazzarri we are seeing that things have not changed a lot, they have not been stable at all."