Italy's Verdi 'exactly like' David Silva, says Mancini

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The former Milan youth, who is now entering the peak years of his career, has been compared to one of the greatest midfield minds in the game

Italy coach Roberto Mancini likened Bologna forward Simone Verdi to a young David Silva.

Mancini signed Silva as Manchester City manager in 2010 and the Spain international has since become one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

Verdi, 25, played the first hour of Italy's 1-1 draw with Netherlands, who earned a draw thanks to a late goal from Nathan Ake on Monday, and Mancini believes the winger could learn from Silva.

"Verdi still needs to grow. It's not easy at this level, but he has good technical qualities," he said.

"When I was at Manchester City, I signed Silva, and he was exactly like him, very offensive.

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"Then we started talking about playing him as an inside forward and he had some problems at the beginning, but now he's been doing it for two years.

"It's not easy to do right away, but with a little patience the player will grow physically and mentally, especially as an inside forward where the player needs to think more than a striker."

Verdi has spent the past two years at Bologna, but is currently in talks to join Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli.

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