Is De Zerbi shifting football’s tactics with possession tightrope at Brighton? | Jonathan Liew

Italian is challenging established conventions with audacious play in his team’s danger zone that can turn high-pressing doctrine in on itself‘I was a pain in the ass as a footballer,” Roberto De Zerbi once said. And, in a way, he was a player hopelessly out of his time: a pure No 10 coming through at the turn of the century, just as they were disappearing from the game.A maverick and a thrill-seeker in a sport tending increasingly towards regimentation. Good enough to be at Milan without ever being good enough to play for them. Even when he dropped down to third-division Lecco on loan, he fell out with manager Roberto Donadoni. His ability with a ball was never in doubt; his ability to adapt always was. “I am a dreamer,” he would later tell La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Very ambitious, honest but unstable, impatient and fiercely volcanic.” For De Zerbi, football had to be played his way if it was worth doing at all. Fortunately, there was a career that would allow him to do just that. Continue reading…

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