It is a tough task breaking into the Juventus midfield, with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba forming an impenetrable line across the centre of the pitch so even finding a place on the bench is something of an achievement.
Luca Marrone is just one of a number of young Juve players who have had to bide their time on the sidelines or if the opportunity arises take their chance playing out of position.
Naturally a central midfielder with a neat and sure passing technique along with sound positional sense, the 23 year-old has been employed in the heart of the defence on a number of occasions over the last season where Antonio Conte believes he has the similar if not superior passing ability to that of Leonardo Bonucci.
However, despite his strong build on a six-foot frame the Italy Under-21 international has no real desire to be considered a ball-playing centre-back and would prefer to follow in the footsteps of his idol Pirlo.
Of course there are very few in world football who possess the range of passing Pirlo has in his armoury and Marrone’s style would be more in the Daniele De Rossi class where he covers well, tackles firmly and then provides the platform for the more creative elements in the side.
He has been in the system at the Turin giants since the age of six, climbing through the ranks as did another local lad Marchisio, to finally make his break into the first-team squad in the 2009-10 season after captaining a very talented youth side that won the prestigious Viareggio Tournament.
Much of Marrone’s progress, as he moved from the youth ranks to the professional set-up ,has been down to Conte who took the then 20-year-old on loan to Siena who were at that time impressing in Serie B with a style of football that would later be seen at Juventus when Conte returned to the club.
Under Conte’s guidance, the youngster developed a tough outer shell and an unfazed approach to dealing with the rigours of life in the lower league and the coach had no hesitation in seeking him out and promoting him to his full squad on his first day back in Turin.
As Conte pointed out then there was no doubting the player’s class but he had to find out if he had the mental strength to compete. He obviously passed that test and certainly he has had to show his mettle in dealing with playing a support role to the star-studded Bianconeri midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order.
Nothing of course can be taken for granted as Marchisio found out when last season, Pogba’s breakthrough forced the more seasoned-campaigner into occupying a role further forward; if anything the French starlet’s progress encouraged Marrone to accept whatever playing time he could get and in wherever role was available.
This versatility should hold him in good stead if the move to Everton materializes, with Juventus only willing to part with the player on a permanent basis as they feel that Pogba’s star is on such a steep ascendency that there is little way back for Marrone and a loan move would serve no one any good.
In his heart, he will not want to leave the club he has spent his whole life at but playing regularly must be his aim now. His appearance at this summer’s Under-21 European Championships came to a sudden halt following a hamstring injury in the opening group win over England, so a wider international audience did not get a chance to witness his potential.
There will be no more Under-21 appearances and fewer chances at Juventus so it may be time to say farewell to the Old Lady and seek a way to catch Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli’s eye much in the same vein that former team-mate Emanuele Giaccherini hopes to do at Sunderland.