De Zerbi recently left the Neroverdi to go and coach Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, but his admiration for Sassuolo striker Raspadori was clear.
“He is very strong and the national team plays football suitable for him. He has already shown that he can make a difference in Serie A,” De Zerbi said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The versatility of the 21-year-old had been noted by many this season, as he regularly drops deep to pick up the ball and run at defences. This is something De Zerbi is very aware of.
“He is not only good in the penalty area but when he starts to run the game he does it as a true No.10,” De Zerbi said.
De Zerbi became Sassuolo coach in 2018, when Raspadori was just 18 years old. Despite that young age, the coach was immediately sold on the player’s talent.
“It took him very little time to win me over,” De Zerbi said. “In my first year at Sassuolo, I took him to our retreat and we immediately understood how good he was.”
Raspadori is one of three Sassuolo players that were named in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad for the upcoming tournament. The others are Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi. De Zerbi discussed how with those two players, he had to rebuild their confidence after rough patches in their careers.
“Locatelli needed to reset his early career achievement. Berardi suffered a physiological decline but we helped him get back on track”.