Alberto Aquilani lauds Mourinho’s “courage and creativity” in finding role for Nicola Zalewski

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - AUGUST 26: Alberto Aquilani head coach of ACF Fiorentina looks on before the Primavera TIM Cup Final match between Hellas Verona and ACF Fiorentina at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on August 26, 2020 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Former Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who’s currently the manager of Fiorentina’s Primavera, praised José Mourinho’s ability and courage to find space for youngster Nicola Zalewski this past season.

The 20 year-old was one of the biggest surprises of the Giallorossi’s campaign, dazzling as a left wingback and filling-in seamlessly for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola.

“Zalewski really surprised me,” Aquilani told La Repubblica. “Last year I faced him in the Primavera and I didn’t expect him to have this big of an impact.”

“Mourinho was courageous to put him in a role that I never thought he would’ve been capable of playing. My initial reaction was he’d be an attack-minded winger or a mezz’ala.”

“But now in Serie A he’s more or less a fullback. It took a lot of vision and creativity to recognise this, not everyone has it. Luckily there’s someone in Italy like José.”

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