The attacking flanks of the Reggina side are a key fulcrum to their tactical style of play. Providing width and a pincer movement when attacking the opposition area, the create and score goals.
The right-sided winger is set to support, taking up a slightly deeper role than his counter-part. This twin attack, with the full back on his flank set to make attacking runs down the Reggina right creates an overload for wing backs or full backs in opposition teams, allowing these players to complete a high number of crosses into the box.
Nicola Patané is another home-grown player from Reggina and is the oldest Amaranto academy graduate at the club. Finding his pathway initially blocked, Patané enjoyed a series of loans to fellow Italian clubs, including Perugia and Bari which aided his development. Patané’s successful loans led to him offering initially a back-up role within the Reggina squad, but after the sale of Pereira last season to Manchester City, Patané has made his promotion to first choice count.
23-year old Thibault Renard also found his player progression pathway impeded, but rather than going out on-loan to Serie A clubs, the Belgian instead opted to go to Atlético Madrid initially and then Watford the following season. He remained with Amaranto over the 2031-32 season to provide back-up support for Patané, as evidenced by his comparative lack of minutes..
Kenneth Bjerknæs is an 18-year-old Danish wonderkid. Convinced to join the Calabrian side by fellow national, Ulrik Marcussen, his professional personality and mental attributes are remarkable for a player of his age – Bjerknæs looks to have a great footballing future ahead of him. Signed from Marcussen’s club of FC København for a paltry £2m three seasons ago, he’s already been capped for Denmark. It is believed that he will be given more opportunities for first-team football going forwards and won’t be heading out on loan, unlike his inter-squad positional rivals did in the development stage of their careers.
Being set to support, this sees the right winger track play in both directions, and helps to explain the taxing distances per 90mins that is expected of these players. Patané and Bjerknæs are ranked one and two respectively for the distance covered per 90mins, with Patané averaging 14.5km/90mins. His acceleration, pace and flair help to, at first, trick opponents before then running beyond them to deliver a cross into the box, especially when combined with his player traits of ‘knocks ball past opponent’, ‘runs with ball down the right’ and ‘gets forward whenever possible’.
Patané and Bjerknæs have both completed 18% of all crosses they attempt, leading to a goal/assist contribution per 90mins of 0.66 and 0.88 – with Renard completing 12% of his crosses and a more impressive G&A/90mins of 0.86. Renard’s seven assists in only 839 minutes is impressive, though his shots/90mins are lower, as is his shots on target/90mins, than his rivals for this position. Yet these later two aren’t the be-all-and-end-all metrics for this position. Whilst players in this role do find themselves in the box forming a loose front three if play develops down the left side, or is slow to build, this role is set so that it looks to interlink play more, offering a wide outlet and then a run at defenders rather than driving all the time into the box without fail, even without the ball at feet. Far more important metrics to this role are the frequency and quality of chances they create and aforementioned G&A/90mins, with more weighting desired towards the assist’s aspect of that metric.
Left-sided attacking midfielders are largely set to play as wingers with an attacking mind-set, except for home-grown Reggina starlet, Barca, who plays as a raumdeuter.
Alfonso Barca came from the Reggina academy alongside fellow forward Bagnoli, in what can easily be described as the best generation to ever come out of Amaranto’s youth set up. Re-trained from a pure striker to this wide role, Barca’s work rate, determination and teamwork are all outstanding features of his play, despite being only 21 years old. Barca has already been capped four times by the Azzurri and looks set for many more in the future, despite missing out on being selected for the 2032 European Championships.
César Mainz, plucked from Rayo Vallencano for his minimum fee release clause of £4.4m, has also taken the loan route to his development process. Espanyol and Atalanta temporarily employed his services, before he found his way into the Reggina first-team. After impressive spells with both clubs, Mainz has been a real goalscoring threat, cutting in from the left to provide a finish to a number of crosses coming in from the right. His 6’2” frame, 17 jumping reach and 16 strength make him a real force in the box.
Jakub Broniszewski, a 21-year-old German international, began his career in Stuggart’s youth team before progressing through into their first team, representing them twenty-six times in the Bundesliga. His minimum fee release clause of £7.5m was triggered to initially act as back-up. A loan spell back Germany at Herta BSC aided his development, where he played thirty-three games, scoring nine goals, proving he was ready to take the next step. His similar physical make-up to Mainz, being 6’4” and 17 strength makes him a real weapon for crosses into the far post.
Each player in this slot has been given an opportunity to develop with a relatively even distribution of minutes – crucial given their respective ages. When Mazin and Broniszewski, the out-and-out wingers, play they adopt an advanced position, more often than not choosing to stay further upfield when the opposition are launching an attack. This can act as an out ball for defenders and midfielders who do track back to play out to when the ball is won back – with the winger then looking to use his pace and explosive acceleration to stretch play and hit the opposition on the counter, driving at the oposing full/wing backs. This helps to explain their lower distance covered/90mins than their wing counterparts and why left wingers top the dribbles/game metrics. Fellow left winger, Dejan Lesjak, another hot prospect wonderkid, tops the metric but is not included within this analysis with only very few minutes being played over the course of the season – just 654 minutes. Mainz (6.51 dribbles/90mins) comes second, troubling his opponent with his pace, strength and technical ability, typically looking to take advantage of being one-on-one when the game is in a more unstructured open phase of play, which can lead to him creating a situation where he is through onto goal to take an angled shot.
In fact, all three have impressive shots on target percentages, with Broniszewski (60%) topping the charts and Mainz and Barca joint eighth (54%). Between them, they score with ~20% shots taken – a total of thirty-two goals. When play does develop down the right, both Mainz and Broniszewski look to arrive late in the box at the far post, stretching the oppositions backline, receiving the diagonal balls over the top. Mainz’s shots/90mins (4.33), shots on target/90mins (2.35) and goals/90mins (0.76) are stand out. Whilst he has played fewer minutes than either Barca or Broniszewski, his goal tally of thirteen goals in eighteen starts and six substitute appearances shows his high ceiling. When combined with his thirteen assists in competitive football this season, his goal and assists/90mins metric stands at a remarkable 1.67/90mins – bettered only by complete forward, Quinteros. His ability to dominate the opposing full backs in the air, Mainz wins 4.03 headers/90mins – or 65% of headers attempted.
The three players also have very similar cross completion percentages of ~10-11%. This is notably lower than the right wingers analysed above, in fact, 4% lower than both Pantané and Bjerknæs. This metric could be a result of the opposing winger taking a less attacking stance so arriving later in the box and not getting onto the end of the cross; poor cross selection/accuracy or a higher number of crosses being blocked at source.
Barca, in his space exploring ‘raumdeuter’ role is, as expected, far freer in his positioning. Looking to take advantage of gaps in vertical and horizontal half-spaces between opponent’s defensive set-ups, Barca needs to be a master of reading the game in terms of its development of plays, arriving at the right time to provide a key pass or provide a finish. Barca creates 1.64 chances/90mins, 0.20 more than Mainz – though has only one extra assist in over 350 more minutes. Accordingly, Barca falls 0.17 behind Mainz’s exception 1.67 G&A involvement per 90mins. Clearly, with better, more clinical finishing of the chances he provides, this metric has room to grow. Indeed, his key passing metric, 2.45 KP/game, ranks him fourth on the squad list indicating the significance of his playmaking abilities within the spaces he takes, with forty-two key passes in total.
The right-sided wingers are the workhorses of the formation, offering their support to both attacking and defensive situations, whereas the left wingers are closer to being, if not the assassin, then the weapon smith capable of delivering a cut-throat slit himself.
You can see the full range of metrics available for the above players below: