Marco Tumminello: The gem in Roma’s crown


Corriere dello Sport (Fabio Massimo Splendore) Roma have an embarrassment of riches. A pitch like the Breda at Sesto San Giovanni can only create problems for a highly technically skilled team like Alberto De Rossi’s Roma Primavera side. But … not this time. It really does look like this team is the best around. Maybe they are. Only Entella, the other Coppa Italia finalist, will be able to prove whether there is currently a better side than the Giallorossi. Winners of the league last season, topped off with victory in the Supercoppa – also against Inter – now they have another trophy in their sights.

Roma’s golden generation are being watched by scouts from both Italian clubs and foreign sides. But they are also being carefully watched by Roma’s own management, who are perfectly aware of their value.

Take Pellegrini for example, a full back whose value isn’t just high because he has someone like Mino Raiola behind him, or a centre back like Marchizza, who not only always makes the right decision and knows how to transmit confidence to his team-mates, or a midfielder like Frattesi, who already looks like he can make the step up to the senior level, or the front 2 of Tumminello and Soleri, one of whom is like a young Vieri, the other like a young Delvecchio. Or the young goalkeeper Crisanto – hopefully the old cliché of height being a problem for goalkeepers doesn’t come true in his case, because he is an excellent goalkeeper and deserves a chance at a senior level.

Roma are Inter’s bete noire (5 wins from 5; the first, in the 2016 scudetto semi-final, was on penalties after a 3-3 draw in normal time, but the other 4 have all been won in 90 minutes), and the Nerazzurri’s personal nightmare is Marco Tumminello. He has scored 5 goals in those 5 games: 2 braces in the scudetto semi-final and the Supercoppa, 1 forced own goal in the first leg of the Coppa Italia at Tre Fontane, and 1 assist (for Soleri) and 1 goal yesterday.

As Inter stumbled, both because of an awful pitch and the fear that now possesses the Nerazzurri players every time they see the Giallorossi, Roma clinically set about winning the game. Marco Tumminello is the jewel in the crown of this Roma side – he can make the difference, bringing together both physical presence, reliability and courageous decision-making, such as when he places the ball in the opposite corner to the one you expect him to. Or, maybe because it’s him, you are expecting it. Because he is a star in the making.

He comes from Erice, a medieval town perched above the sea near Trapani, which looks like something out of a fairytale when the clouds settle and the fog descends. From that magical setting came this talented young man with eyes of ice, and who Milan have let slip away from them twice: once when he ended up at Palermo and then when Roma bought him from Palermo aged 14. His hammer of a left foot (tum-tum) has made Tumminello into a prolific goalscorer, frequently hitting double figures in the league. The sea of Favignana runs through his veins, and he goes back there whenever he can; he is a man of the heart and has even managed to visit Paris in between games.

But football is his life: he’s been nicknamed Bobo Tumminello, because with his physique and his left foot, it’s easy to compare him to Vieri. Sassuolo are interested in him but Roma have said no. Many people are interested in him, but Roma will keep saying no. His contract currently runs out in 2018 and there are a few things that need to be settled before that is extended. He is fully focused on his career, his Facebook page is full of articles written about him. Inter’s nightmare is Roma’s gem. And the UEFA Youth League has given him the stage to impress many others around Europe. It really should be added though that both Marco Tumminello and this Roma Primavera have an outstanding coach: Alberto De Rossi. A quiet figure, but a hugely important one.