RISCONE DI BRUNICO – Inter youth academy director Roberto Samaden, Primavera coach Stefano Vecchi and young defenders Federico Valietti and Zinho Vanheusden appeared at a press conference at the Riscone di Brunico training centre on Monday afternoon.
First to speak was Roberto Samaden.
"I would like to thank the club for doing what it has always done and supporting the youth academy in the past, the present and the future," began the Inter academy director. “We’re improving our facilities, with significant investment in the Suning Youth Development Centre. We’re proud of the results we’ve achieved and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Stefano Vecchi for everything he’s done in the past three years and for the way he’s helped the players to develop. By signing a three-year contract, he’s shown that he is committed to our project.
"It won’t be easy to keep improving, but we know only one way when it comes to moving forward: hard work. The club is right behind us and is investing in the youth academy, so it’s only natural for us to keep pushing ahead. Dario Baccin will play a key role in creating an even more direct link with the first team."
Stefano Vecchi was next to speak.
"Regardless of the success we achieved last season, the large number of approaches we’ve received for our players shows that we’ve done a great job," he said. "We need to better our own achievements by testing ourselves again and refusing to rest on our laurels.
"The club wanted to extend my contract and I’m proud to be here. I’ve spoken with [Luciano] Spalletti about the first-team players I coached last year and, obviously, about the type of players we have in the Primavera."
Vecchi was also asked what he believes is the best way forward for Andrea Pinamonti.
"Andrea is one of the stand-out youngsters, but it’s not easy to get playing time at a club like Inter," he said. "That said, I think that testing yourself against top players every day in training is a formative experience. He’s worked his way up quickly, but let’s not forget that he was only born in 1999 so he can still play for the Primavera."
There were plenty of questions for Zinho Vanheusden, who turned out for the first team in the first friendly of the season on Sunday after being winning the best player gong at the Primavera Championship finals 2016/17.
"I’ve always dreamed of being here," he said. "It’s amazing to be able to train alongside the best players – I’m learning a lot. It’s great to know that Inter believes in me. You can tell that Spalletti is a great coach straight away. I’ve learned a lot on the defensive side of things over the past four days. I look up to Miranda – he’s one of the best centre-backs in the world.
Finally, Federico Valietti – a homegrown talent who has been wearing Inter black and blue since he was eight – took to the microphone.
"I’ve come up through the ranks of the Inter youth academy so it’s a wonderful feeling to be here with all these great players," he said. "I will work hard every day to improve. My idol has always been [Javier] Zanetti, but looking at the present crop I really like Danilo D’Ambrosio."