Enzo Maresca’s managerial exploits
I have said previously there are three things which matter when signing a new head coach: experience, play style, and developmental capacity. These three elements are what end up making the Italian Leicester City’s best shot at long term success.
Experience-wise, the Foxes-bound manager is of course a cultured former-player with plenty of different managers’ tutorships and influences impacting his myriad knowledge of footballing philosophies. Further to this, the Italian has had two stints of note; we shall use these to analyse his play style.
Guardiola’s elite ‘Sky Blues’ sought after the former player after he hung up his boots. They brought him in to manage their ‘Elite Development Side’ – aka their U21 Premier League 2 team. Turns out, the coach did really well. His side won their first ever division title with 56 points versus Chelsea U23’s 42 points. A 14 point clearance in a league with only 24 matches is nothing to snuff at. He was there for the 2020/21 campaign.
It is clear why they wanted him. Being so cultured in more progressive, intricate football, Maresca offers a similar philosophy and outlook to ‘Pep’ – when developing your youth side, it works well to develop them in the same way you wish them to play for the senior side. That is why Manchester City’s development side creates so many flourishing prospects.
The Italian’s first ever lineup was an aggressive 4-1-4-1 reminiscent of Brendan Rodgers’ first spectacular season with the Foxes. The King Power side probably saw this and would be pleased with a return to a more positive way of playing. After all, a 4-1-4-1 naturally lends itself to progressive fullbacks, a strong box-to-box ball winner in the middle, and creative playmakers.
His final game saw an identical play style, an identical formation, although the composition of players was of course slightly different. My key transfer target Cole Palmer played in this final fixture.