Italian newspapers slam 'bad' Wilfried Gnonto display as Leeds United starts for Italy in win v Hungary
Italian newspapers weren’t too impressed by Wilfried Gnonto’s performance as the Leeds United forward started in Italy’s win over Hungary on Monday night.
Roberto Mancini’s team won 2-0 against the Hungarians to snatch the top-spot in their Nations League group and qualify for the finals next year.
Gnonto, 18, earned his sixth cap by replacing Gianluca Scamacca in the starting line-up but despite playing a role in Giacomo Raspadori’s first goal, he failed to impress the Italian media.
Corriere della Sera reported in their print edition (27 September, page 50) that Gnonto and Raspadori had an initial “struggle” when it came to finding space in the attack due to the way the Hungarian’s crowded them out in defence.
In their player ratings, the new Leeds signing was awarded 6.5/10, saying: “It is not his ideal match, he struggles to protect the ball, but as soon as he can throw himself forward he terrifies Gulacsi, who knocks him out. And the match-breaking rebound.”
Gazzetta dello Sport were harsher on Gnonto in their ratings.
In their print edition on 27 September (page 6), Gazzetta made it clear that Gnonto got the “lowest grade” for his 6/10 display against Hungary.
“He deserved a much worse vote were it not for his stubbornness that we score: he attacks Nagy’s back pass and creates the right conditions for Raspadori. The rest? Bad with the ball and never in position,” said the Italian newspaper.
Corriere dello Sport also gave Gnonto a 6/10 match rating, wiring in their print edition (27 September, page seven): “Struggles to find the right position and measure in the passes. He loses too many balls, but fights with courage, getting into the action of the first Azzurri goal.”
It sounds as though Gnonto didn’t have the easiest games against Hungary.
However, Hungary were the most impressive team in Italy’s Nations League group and were very unfortunate to not finish top of the group and reach the finals themselves.
Gnonto is still only 18 so it’s a lot of pressure on him to perform for Italy at that age when he’s in the starting line-up.
After becoming his nation’s youngest-ever goalscorer earlier this year for scoring against Germany in the Nations League, there’s a lot of pressure on the Leeds teen to be a star for the Azzurri.
But while Mancini rates Gnonto highly, he probably needs to just play him as a substitute for now because surely a team like Italy shouldn’t be relying on a Leeds Under-21s player to spearhead their attack in competitive fixtures.
We are happy to see Gnonto as a Leeds player and we’re thrilled for him to continue earning caps for Italy.
But there needs to be a bit of calm about him otherwise the pressure could cause him to fold if he constantly gets slaughtered by the media.
In other Leeds United news, there’s been a new arrival behind the scenes at Thorp Arch.