Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Milan’s future could lie with Inzaghi clones


By Phil O’Connor

Defenders in Italy breathed a sigh of relief this week as Filippo Inzaghi hung up his boots. The bad news for them is that his new challenge is to produce the next generation of Italian goal-hanging greats as AC Milan’s youth team coach. 

Inzaghi was the simplest of goal-poachers, with a bloodhound’s instinct for sniffing out a chance and the cobra-like reflexes to exploit it. He was neither a dribbler nor a passer, and his career-long battle with the offside rule reached ridiculous proportions at times, but his finishing ability was second to none.

Indeed, it’s worth asking if Inzaghi’s greatest talent is something that can be taught – and if it can, is it still required?

 The manic ability of “Pippo” to make run after run off the last defender – and fail repeatedly, only to finally get one right and score – is seldom seen in the modern game, and requires enormous mental and physical endurance.