Inter’s 4-0 win over Genoa left Thiago Motta’s men rock-bottom in the league. But it took the Nerazzurri to the top of the table as well, with Juventus having already beaten Sampdoria 2-1 in mid-week. It was a step in the right direction, despite being under pressure to perform. More than the result, it was Sebastiano Esposito who took a lot of attention.
The youngster only scored a penalty to take Inter 3-0 up in the second half. It was Romelu Lukaku who gave it to him, in a bid to hand the youngster a huge boost of confidence. While the Belgian deserves immense credit for the act, Esposito did enough to get one chance.
The 17-year-old is already being hailed for displaying a huge amount of passion whenever he plays. He is constantly seen urging the Inter fans to make more noise. Every time he plays, it gives the impression of him being that passionate youngster who can do everything for the club he’s grown up at.
Against Genoa, he did show enough fight to deserve a goal. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but no performance is perfect.
He showed fight, winning three tackles in the game, which is rare for a striker. He came up with two key passes, helping Romelu Lukaku get a good amount of service. He took three shots on goal, with two of them going on target (via Whoscored). He kept the Rossoblu defence on its toes and that is very impressive for someone who was making his first start as a Nerazzurri player.
But it was probably coming for him too – Esposito has been given run-outs by Antonio Conte in the first-team in recent weeks. His debut came in Inter’s 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, doing well in the 28 minutes that he played. Then came his Serie A bow against Parma, following which he came on against Brescia and Hellas Verona too.
Esposito also made appearances in the Champions League against Sparta Prague and Barcelona recently – a sign of how much Conte trusts the youngster. He has done enough to show why he deserves a chance too.
This season itself, Esposito has played three times for the Inter Primavera outfit. One of those came in the UEFA Youth League. But during these three games, the 17-year-old has scored thrice, assisting once too (via Transfermarkt).
Last season was a very special one for Esposito. He didn’t make his Serie A debut, but he did make an appearance in the Europa League under Luciano Spalletti. He played 38 times in all competitions for the Primavera side, scoring as many as 31 times for them and assisting twice. Goalscoring numbers like that always deserve immense attention, and Conte has given him just that.
And recently, Conte gave Esposito and young Lucien Agoume immense praise. He told reporters (via TribalFootball):
“Those two have had the opportunity to train with us and have had significant development, especially Esposito, but also Agoume. They are young, they have deservedly made their debuts. They are growing up and are two guys who could potentially become part of the foundations at Inter for years to come.
“I believe in them, I hope and know that, regardless of everything, the answer will always be positive. They always give their all.”
Lautaro Martinez got some deserved rest, with Alexis Sanchez currently out injured. Matteo Politano has been kept out of the side, as he recently came back from an injury. There have been uncertainties about his future and amidst this, Esposito came in and showed that he can be worth the attention.
He isn’t a target man by any means – Lukaku plays that role. But he is more of the workhorse that Conte loves in attack – like Lautaro himself.