In this new feature we’re shining a light on Alberto De Rossi’s Primavera squad, who are currently reigning Italian champions after winning the championship last season.
This week the man in the spotlight is Eros De Santis, one of the key players in the Giallorossi’s win away at APOEL Nicosia in the first round of the UEFA Youth League.
1. “My earliest football memory is a match I played in when I was young. I was only five or six and was playing for Tivoli. I was about to take a free kick when I saw my dad gesturing to me from the stands to whip the ball up and over the wall. I followed his advice and sure enough it went in.”
2. “I’ve never played any other sports other than football. I started playing when I was four and a half. My father and my older brother, Samuele, are the people that have had the biggest influence on my football career. They always came to watch me play and after every training session and match I’d discuss everything that had happened on the pitch with them on the way home. Once, when I was ten, my brother came from Rome to Lecco – over 600km! – to see me play in a tournament.”
3. “I played as a centre forward when I was younger. When I joined Roma ten years ago, the coach at the time, Marco Rosa, asked us all which of us were attackers and which of us were defenders: almost everyone said they were attackers. He decided to run some focused training sessions to figure out who could do well in defence, and I stood out. That’s how I became a defender and specifically a full-back.”
4. “As a kid I was surrounded by Juventus fans, so I supported them until I was eight. However, as soon as I joined Roma I became a Giallorossi fan.”
5. “On the pitch my biggest strength is my running, especially when I can get forward down the wing. I think I need to improve on my concentration so I can stay 100% focused throughout the game.”
6. “My first idol was Carlos Puyol. When I was 14 or 15 I had long hair really similar to his and everyone used to call me Puyol. I realised that he was a fantastic defender and he became one of my favourite players.”
7. “The player I admire most is my position is Thiago Silva. He has good technique, he can run with the ball, he’s physically strong and is really explosive over the first five yards. In terms of the best player of all time, I’d have to go with Lionel Messi. He’s a genius – he’s the best, whatever way you look at it. Dribbling, passing, crosses, goals… there’s nobody else like him.”
8. “My ultimate dream in football is to win the World Cup, but for starters my goal is to establish myself in the first team at Roma. I hope to make it a reality as soon as possible and then stay at the highest level for a long time to come.”