Media view on Gollini - James Horncastle, Italian football expert
Wed 28 July 2021, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Following Pierluigi Gollini’s arrival from Atalanta, we tapped into the knowledge of Italian and European football expert James Horncastle for an insight into the goalkeeper from Ferrera, a key player in Atalanta’s recent rise in Serie A.
A ‘young’ goalkeeper at 26, but with bags of experience, capped by Italy, ‘Pier’ has joined us on a season-long loan from the Bergamo club, with an option to make the transfer permanent.
James, meanwhile, is The Athletic’s Serie A correspondent and a regular face on BT Sport’s Champions League Goals Show. @JamesHorncastle
Atalanta’s ‘band of brothers’
James: “Pier was very popular in the Atalanta dressing room. There is a great team spirit about Atalanta and a lot of the players, while they’ll have the opportunity to move to bigger clubs, they are almost reluctant to do it because there is a real ‘band of brothers’ feel in Bergamo. They’ve been through a lot together over the last few years personally and professionally (Atalanta have finished third three times on the trot in Serie A, qualified for the Champions League and reached the Coppa Italia final). From Pier’s point of view, to be a starting goalkeeper in a team that has been regularly challenging to be in the top four in Serie A, and also play Champions League football in the last couple of seasons, has been very big for him. To go back to that Atalanta dressing room, it’s been a lot of fun, with Alejandro Gomes, now at Sevilla, big into his dancing, Pier big into his music... there are a lot of big characters at that club.”
‘A big character’
James: “Pier had to do a lot of work with Atalanta, because they are a team that like to take risks. They attack on the front foot and man mark at the back, so it’s one-against-one everywhere, so if someone beats their man, they are one-on-one with Pier. His one-on-one goalkeeping and reflexes are very good. He’s someone who commands his penalty area, a big character who talks a lot. He’s not a shy goalkeeper! It helps that some of his formative goalkeeping years were spent with Manchester United and then he played in the Championship with Aston Villa. He has no problems communicating, and no problems with the language.”
James: “Pier was quite unlucky with the Euros being moved from 2020 to 2021. He was in the squad last season and had the tournament not been rescheduled, I think he would have been one of the three goalkeepers with Gianluigi Donnarumma (now PSG) and the more experienced Salvatore Sirigu (Torino). It would then be a case of who would be the understudy with a view to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At the beginning of 2019/20, that was Pier. It’s been between him, Alex Meret (Napoli) and Alessio Cragno (Cagliara) to get that final spot. It will be interesting to see what Sirigu’s next move is, and I think there could be two goalkeeper spots open for Qatar behind Donnarumma, with Pier hoping to be one of them.”