Steady growth and recognisable progress are the traits that made Sandro Tonali worthy of much praise upon the start of this new season with AC Milan.
After a season spent on loan last year, Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara still believed greatly in what the Italian midfielder had to offer and decided to sign him permanently.
The path that the former Brescia player is taking is definitely not the easiest road, but then again, every player is hit with bumps and obstacles in their career and on their way to achieving great results.
Despite a previous season characterised with lack of continuity, the 21-year-old is starting to get settled well in the AC Milan midfield as he is now repaying the faith and trust that the management and coach had placed in him for so long.
The truth is, Tonali has found a good environment to grow at Milanello and he also found support and patience from everyone around him. The midfielder also has a winner’s mentality who seeks to improve himself and avoid previous mistakes.
The player himself knows that he can do better, and the fact that he is able to recognise his own qualities and flaws makes him mentally strong.
“This year will be another story, even if I know I have to improve. We must always grow. You will see the real Tonali this year. What has changed? Quite simply, I grew up a year. On and off the pitch, which is a fundamental aspect.” These are the words of Tonali, entrusted to the microphones of La Gazzetta dello Sport a while ago.
The 21-year-old midfielder is capable of playing as a box to box midfielder as well as being a central midfielder. He is also quite good at performing as a deep-lying playmaker.
Sandro started to show his qualities at the start of the season with two beautiful performances and we indeed saw “another Tonali”. This version seemed calmer on the ball with more determination and strong will to establish his dominance in the middle of the pitch.
In the second game against Cagliari which ended 4-1, he confirmed his growth as he took the duty of taking a dangerous free-kick and put it past the net with a beautiful precision and accuracy.
Now with Ismael Bennacer not fully back to his usual physical levels, Franck Kessié recovering from injury, having to play Champions League football as well as the Serie A league and Coppa Italia, Sandro Tonali will have much space.
The young talent will only grow further from here as he observes and learns from his already two mentioned above teammates besides a certain Tiémoué Bakayoko who returned to Milanello in the recent transfer market window.
Tonali is certain that he can improve and repay everyone for the trust placed in him and everyone hopes that he continues with the same determination and willingness to learn and grow. For him, an important test awaits him, which is the match against Lazio on Sunday at the San Siro.