It was important for Milan to secure a win over Brescia prior to the international break for a morale boost, and now Marco Giampaolo has more time to work with his players with the pressure eased to an extent.
Many have travelled with their respective national teams, but others have stayed behind to continue training at Milanello and there could be one major boost in particular against Verona on September 15.
As noted by MilanNews, via the paper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Theo Hernandez is expected to be available for selection, and it has been suggested that it is merely down to Giampaolo as to whether that’s as part of the starting line-up or off the bench.
The mere indication that the 21-year-old is nearing a return to action is a huge boost in itself though, and it’s hoped that the Milan boss wastes little time in re-integrating him into his starting XI, assuming he is given the green light by the medical staff to feature.
Hernandez was unfortunately restricted to just 40 minutes of pre-season football following his switch to join us, as his debut against Bayern Munich was cut short after suffering the ankle injury which has kept him sidelined since.
Nevertheless, in that 40 minutes or so, the Frenchman showed the qualities that will be crucial for the Rossoneri moving forward in the left-back position.
Albeit he can be over-zealous at times which leads to cheap free-kicks being given away, his intensity, urgency and snappiness off the ball to close the opposition down and win back possession quickly are key attributes which should see him fit in perfectly under Giampaolo.
Importantly though, he offers something in both facets of the game with his ability to bomb forward down the left flank with a tireless work ethic to add width and a different dynamic to Milan’s attack both in a creative sense and a direct one with his ability to strike the ball.
As seen in the clips below, Hernandez showcased both sides of his game against Bayern and emerged as one of the star performers from that encounter.
There will be an argument that he should be gradually brought back into the side so as to avoid any potential setbacks in his recovery, but ultimately that’s a decision that the medical staff will make in the coming week or so to either give him the green light against Verona or advise Giampaolo to sit him out for one more game.
Whether it is the first outing back after the break or not though, Hernandez’s return to being at Giampaolo’s disposal is a major boost for Milan, not least as Ricardo Rodriguez has started the season slowly as expected.
The Swiss international is a solid option at left-back, and can be relied upon to deliver a 6/10 performance most weeks. However, whether it’s getting caught out with pace or a ball over the top or his lack of influence going forward given his habit to halt his runs and go backwards, Hernandez is a potentially significant upgrade at left-back and the sooner we see him the better.
Naturally, there is still plenty of room for improvement and development in his game given his age, but as we’ve seen with Ismael Bennacer in his full debut against Brescia, these individuals have been signed for a purpose as they should be ideal fits for Giampaolo to continue to implement his preferred style and brand of football.
— A Tutto Milan 1899 (@atmilan1899) July 24, 2019