Why future is bright for Milan starlet after breakthrough month

It was quite a month for Matteo Gabbia in February, as the Milan defender showed signs of being a potential long-term solution in defence.

For those that saw the 20-year-old in action during pre-season last summer, there were already positive signs that he could have a role to play this season and so his recent impact won’t have come as a real surprise.

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Speculation was rife in January that he could leave on loan, as per Calciomercato, but fortunately it was decided that he should stay, albeit he had to remain patient.

His chance finally came last month though, as after a brief run-out against SPAL in the Coppa Italia, he got 45 minutes under his belt in the win over Torino before making his full Serie A debut just days later in the draw with Fiorentina.

As seen in the club’s tweet below, he has now penned a new contract which will keep him with us until 2024, and so there are various indications that Gabbia may have a key role to play in the coming years.

It’s hoped that he can take advantage of the injury troubles and questionable form of the likes of Mateo Musacchio and Simon Kjaer to carve out an opportunity to cement his place in the starting XI on a more regular basis, as Milan are still in need of a long-term partner for Alessio Romagnoli in the heart of the backline.

From his maturity, composure, awareness and reading of the game to his aerial strength and defensive solidity, there are a number of key traits in his game already and naturally they will only develop and improve further with experience and playing time.

Coach Stefano Pioli has a big decision to make against Lecce on Monday night as it’s been quite a break since our last outing, and so he’ll potentially have options in defence.

Gabbia is currently full of confidence and is building momentum on and off the pitch, and it would arguably be the smart decision to keep him involved at this point and not disrupt that process as he tries to nail down a spot in the starting XI.

As per La Gazzetta dello Sport and their early probable line-up, it would appear as though Gabbia could get the nod, and so it’s hoped that remains the case come Monday when Pioli is selecting his line-up.

Admittedly, it’s still too early to say with full confidence that Gabbia is going to be a pillar in this current side. As we’ve seen over the years with the likes of Manuel Locatelli, Bryan Cristante and Patrick Cutrone, a number of our youth players have had a breakthrough but then failed to kick on or perhaps were cut too soon.

Hopefully, Gabbia doesn’t follow that same path and makes his own. From his pre-season performances to his impact last month, there is reason to be excited about his potential and what he could offer Milan in the coming years, and it would be brilliant to see him given the opportunity to become a key figure in this side.

With La Gazzetta dello Sport suggesting that there could be an overhaul in management this summer again though, it remains to be seen whether that will have an adverse influence on another of our homegrown stars as it would be a huge shame if he was crowded out by new signings under a new regime.