Destiny Udogie could potentially make his senior Italy debut against Malta on Saturday evening after a stunning start to his Tottenham career under Ange Postecoglou
Saturday, October 14, 2023, could prove to be a momentous day in Destiny Udogie's career following his maiden Italy call-up. Outstanding for Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham since linking up with the team for the first time after his season on loan with Udinese last campaign, his place in Luciano Spalletti's Italy squad is richly deserved.
Udogie could have perhaps made the senior squad last campaign having wowed for Udinese, yet he instead had to settle for a spot with the Under-21s as Mancini looked elsewhere for his left-sided options. Now part of their plans for this month's Euro 2024 qualifiers, Malta are first up in Bari on Saturday evening before they travel to Wembley to take on England three days later.
“Vic is very composed. Nothing really fazes him. It was his birthday today. We didn’t know until the gaffer mentioned afterward," explained Spurs' No.10. “He’s a young man still to be fair, 27 is still young for a goalkeeper. But he has the composure of a 30-year-old and an experienced, senior Premier League player. So he’s been brilliant.
“Destiny is just a beast, man. He’s so good. When I talk about learning and adapting with the manager’s new style, him playing inside is not natural to him. He’s still working on that himself.
“He’s actually better on the ball and he can take the ball and dribble in the middle of the pitch and open it up for us. He’s got good receiving skills and he’s so powerful and so good."
It is no surprise that Udogie has come to the attention of Spalletti after making an incredible start to his Tottenham career. Foreign players usually need a period of adaption to get used to the pace and intensity of the Premier League but Udogie has taken to England's top flight with ease.
Udogie, who is also defensively sound, has two assists to his name from eight games so far this campaign and those numbers will only continue to grow due to his role in the side. It also won't be long at all until he opens his Tottenham goal account going on the positions he takes up.
The next target on Udogie's wishlist will be to make his senior bow for his country. That could very well come later on Saturday when Group C basement boys Malta visit Stadio San Nicola.
However, Udogie has a real challenge for the left-back role from Inter Milan's Federico Dimarco. The 25-year-old has been a regular for his country over the past 18 months after starring for his club.
Operating as a left wing-back for Inter, Dimarco and Udogie are both very similar in terms of that they love to attack and contribute in the final third. So far this term, Dimarco has one goal and three assists to his name from nine games in all competitions.
Even if Dimarco does get the green light from Spalletti to start at left-back, there is the possibility that Udogie could take up a slightly different position against Malta. Speaking to the media on Friday, the new Italy head coach discussed Udogie's attacking role at Tottenham and dropped a hint over a potential positional switch due to his versatility.
"We have five natural midfielders and Udogie, who is playing in midfield in the Premier League and possesses the kind of physicality that could come in handy," he said, as reported by the Italian national team's official website.
Whether or not Udogie makes his senior Italy debut against Malta or not, it does seem like it will only be a matter of time before Spalletti lets him loose on the international stage. The player has demonstrated in the opening months of the 2023/24 season that he is going to be a star for club and country for years to come.