Why did Mancini drop Kean?

by | Jun 1, 2021 23:09 | Editorial, Azzurri, Euro 2020

Questions are mounting over Moise Kean and the reason why Roberto Mancini decided to drop him from Italy’s Euro 2020 squad, writes Kaustubh Pandey.

Kean’s omission from the Euro 2020 squad came as a huge surprise because the Everton loanee had tested himself on a very big stage at PSG in 2020-21. However, his commitment in the last friendly against San Marino is believed to be the reason behind his exclusion from the Euro 2020 squad. According to Repubblica.it, Mancini also preferred to pick more experienced players, meaning Kean will be looking to earn a spot for the 2022 World Cup starting from next autumn.

Mancini’s decision came at the end of an interesting last couple of years in Kean’s career. While Juventus moved him on for a profit, the big-money move to Everton has not worked out, even under Carlo Ancelotti. Kean struggled to make an impact under Marco Silva before Carletto took over, and was soon out the door.

It was a strange experience against Manchester United that defined Kean’s Everton career. Interim manager Duncan Ferguson brought the striker on as a substitute, then withdraw him again before the end of the match. Ferguson did something similar in his last game in charge of the Toffees, against Arsenal, when he brought Cenk Tosun on for Alex Iwobi, then took Tosun off – ironically, to introduce Kean. That kind of stop-start experience was very much in-keeping with Kean’s time at Goodison Park.

But loaned to Paris Saint-Germain in summer 2020, Kean has thrived alongside the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel di Maria and Mauro Icardi and it appears the Ligue 1 side are willing to make the move permanent. An exit from the Premier League looks likely this summer but no one could have guessed how Kean’s career would have gone when he left Juve in 2019.

Kean played across the front three for PSG in the 2020-21 campaign, often deputising for Icardi. He did well playing on the right or left wing and the pace he offers when running in behind defences helped Kean to 17 goals, a remarkable tally for a striker who couldn’t get into the Everton team under three different coaches.

He proved vital in the Champions League for PSG when Icardi was on the injured list and Edinson Cavani had moved on. Kean led the line in games against RB Leipzig, Manchester United and Istanbul Basaksehir, scoring twice against the Turks even as Thomas Tuchel’s side struggled to get going. His momentum faded towards the end of the season as Icardi returned but should PSG make his loan permanent, he’ll be a key member of the squad.

And while Kean has played fewer than 400 minutes for the Italy national team, he’s one of those rare talents who could have added depth in more than one attacking position. If the wide players – any from Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Beradi and Matteo Politano – could not unlock a defence, Kean would have allowed Italy to go direct.

Mancini started to trust Kean when the latter was a teenager and hit form towards the end of his Juventus spell. However, the coach’s trust was not enough to take the 21-year-old to his first international tournament. The future still looks bright for the former Juventus starlet and only time will tell whether the CT will regret his choice.

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