Who is Halid Djankpata, the 18-year-old from Everton who dreams of playing for Italy. The story of him-Corriere.it

Who is Halid Djankpata, the 18-year-old from Everton who dreams of playing for Italy.  The story of him-Corriere.it

Of Pierfrancesco Catucci

Origins in Togo, son of Benin parents, he lived in Milan where he started playing football. Friend of Kean, his role models are Pirlo and Pogba. The FIGC has sent some observers to view him in order to be able to call him up for the national team

The reference models are Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba, the origins are in Togo, son of parents from Benin, the first kicks at the ball already at 4 years old in Lombardy, the springboard in Liverpool, bank Everton. Halid Djankpata is just 18 years old, with an Italian and Togolese passport and already a nice collection of breakthroughs that could now open the doors to Roberto Mancini's national team for him. I'm really happy,” he tells Locker Room Chronicles —, because the FIGC wrote an e-mail to my agent to say that they had sent some observers to see me so they could call me up for the national team.

The young midfielder arrived in Italy with his family when he was only nine months old: I lived in Milan – he said in a previous interview – and played for Velate. I have wonderful memories there, still my home. I also had some tryouts with Brescia and Atalanta, but I said no because of the distance. And there was also the school. Thus his first 11 years pass with him, until, in 2016, another transfer arrives. In England this time, again by parental choice. They said life would be better there, but honestly I didn't agree. When they told me I cried a lot. Now, however, I play for Everton. I can not complain. Before getting there, however, he had started playing for a minor club in Manchester, Droylsden FC. There he was noticed by some observers from City and the two Liverpool teams who proposed him to do some tests: In the end I chose Everton, the history of this team fascinated me. And then I was looking for a place to express myself, I didn't want to go to one of the top clubs to risk burning myself out.

And from there his true English adventure began, halfway between the Under 18s Toffees and the formation that in Italy we would call Primavera, of which they are captain. A new role with a move back a few meters compared to the positions he held in Italy and a new perspective, without losing too much the propensity for goals and assists: In Italy I was a striker and I scored a lot, in England football is much more physical and I was pushed back to midfield.

Competition in that role in Mancini's national team is particularly high, but Djankpata is now beginning to believe it: I think that until the beginning of this season no one knew of my existence in the Federation. Now I dream of playing for the national team, I hope it's the first one I'll be able to make in order of time. And also for this reason, in order not to interrupt the growth path he was following in Liverpool, in the past he has declined some offers from Italy. Meanwhile he befriended Moise Kean (at Everton in the 2019-20 season) and more than once he was added to the first team for training: there the ball spins very fast, in the first training sessions I was really shy, I wasn't 100% emotionally. By the third training session I was fully operational, the players are available. But the ball goes…. Like his dreams.

May 23, 2023 (change May 23, 2023 | 16:59)

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