Raring to go – Reno Piscopo beginning to fulfil potential

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Reno Piscopo is fast becoming one of the premier young talents in Australian football.

The recognition of this came in the form of Piscopo being nominated for last season’s Young Footballer of the Year. Coming as a result of his impressive debut season in the league with Wellington Phoenix, in which he gave many defenders around the league a torrid time.

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Piscopo pledged his allegiance to playing for his country of birth, in what was a substantial coup for Australian football. Despite playing for the Italian national side at youth level.

“At the end of the day I always wanted to play for Australia. And I’m very happy with the decision that I made,” said Piscopo.

“It was a great experience playing with the Italian national team. I learnt a lot and played with some great players. Hopefully I can bring that to playing with the Australian national team.”

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Patrick Cutrone and Inter Milan young gun Andrea Pinamonti are just a few of these quality players Piscopo has played alongside.

His quality has also shown whilst playing for Australia at the AFC-U23 tournament where he helped the Olyroos qualify for the Olympics. He also scored one of the goals of the tournament with a stunning free kick against Iraq.

The potential of being part of the Olympic squad is something that the 22-year-old is very excited by.

“I hope the Olympics goes ahead and I hope that I get selected. Like I’ve said before this is a great goal of mine,” said Piscopo.

The attacker also recognises the competition that he faces to be selected. Given the talent coming through the league this season, his spot isn’t assured.

“I think our age group is a really talented age group,” he added.

A calf injury sustained just before his side’s first game of the season caused him to miss the first four games. Since his return he has contributed with a stunning goal and three assists in his eight games. These numbers however aren’t indicative of the former Inter Milan and Italian international youth’s influence on the team.

It is no coincidence that Wellington’s improvements on the pitch have coincided with Piscopo’s return from injury. The creation of over 20 chances this season, despite having only played eight matches, is undoubtedly due to the swagger and confidence he possesses when driving at the heart of defences on the counter or shredding opposition fullbacks.

Piscopo believes that he has now returned to full fitness, which is a daunting proposition for A-League defences.

“Yeah I do feel like I’m back to 100 per cent. I’m feeling good, body wise as well and I’m very confident. So yeah I’m happy with the way that everything is going.”

His style of play he accredits to watching players who played in similar positions (left wing, and centre attacking midfield) to himself when he was younger. It was hardly surprising to hear his response when asked who exactly he tried to emulate.

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“Neymar, I just love the way that he plays, he’s the one that made me fall in love with the sport I’d say. As well as other players like Coutinho and Hazard. So, I’d try to copy or get ideas for my own game off of them.”

The influence on his game from his time spent at Inter Milan as a youngster is evident. His desire to run at defenders and the skills he possesses are a threat to any defence. If he can continue to grow into one of the premier attacking players in the league, a move back to Europe, surely will not be too far off.

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Unsurprisingly this is one of Piscopo’s goals, as is the case with most young footballers.

“I would love to go back to Europe. Playing overseas I think is my number one goal. If I don’t get that opportunity, I’ll consider my other options, if I have those.”

Whether this is to eventuate or not remains to be seen. One thing that is certain however, is if Reno Piscopo can perform consistently, Wellington Phoenix will be a force to be reckoned with come finals time.

Feature Image Credit: Speed Media

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Chris Ball
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