This week’s Talent Track round-up begins by profiling promising centre-back Daniele Rugani, currently plying his trade with fellow Serie A oufit Empoli.
The 20-year-old – who rejoined the Tuscans on a co-ownership deal after signing for Juventus in 2013 – continues to earn rave reviews for his defensive performances at the heart of Empoli’s rearguard. This time, however, he has hit the headlines for his attacking prowess at the other end.
During last Sunday’s commendable 2-2 Serie A draw at the San Paolo with Napoli, Rugani’s bullet header from a corner at the start of the second period added to Simone Verdi’s first-half strike as Empoli rushed into a two-goal lead.
But Napoli rallied through Duvan Zapata and Jonathan de Guzman to cancel out the Italy Under-21 international’s second top flight strike, with Empoli resisting late pressure to clinch an important point.
Over in Serie B, versatile Senegalese forward Mame Baba Thiam continues to star for Lanciano. Able to play either up top or on the right flank, the 22-year-old bagged a brace during his team’s 2-2 home league draw with Trapani on Saturday afternoon.
After Stefano Ferrario’s own goal had seen the visitors take a 1-0 lead with only six minutes on the clock, Thiam scored twice in just over five minutes to give Lanciano a first-half advantage, only for Christian Terlizzi to pull Trapani level with 16 minutes remaining.
Thiam – who started his professional career with Avellino after progressing through the youth ranks at both Sassuolo and Inter – already has five strikes and three assists to his name so far this season.
Moving further down the divisions, Davide Cais has been catching the eye with Lega Pro Group B side Gubbio since joining in the summer. The 20-year-old striker has two goals in his last three games (against Ancona and San Marino) for the Umbria-based team who find themselves only a point off a playoff position.
If Cais continues to perform at this level on a weekly basis, it could propel his side - currently on a four-game winning streak in the league – towards a genuine push for Serie B football next season.
This week’s Talent Track focus ends in Belgium, where James Troisi scored a wonder goal for 14th-placed Zulte Waregem in their 2-1 defeat away at table-topping Club Brugge on Sunday.
During second-half stoppage time at the end of the Jupiler League encounter, the 26-year-old Australian international picked the ball up before spectacularly chipping opposition goalkeeper Mat Ryan from all of 40 yards.