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'New Pirlo' Tonali the highest-ranked Italian in 2019 NxGn

11:00 AM EDT 3/20/19
Sandro Tonali NxGn
The 18-year-old Brescia midfielder has finished seventh in our annual list of the world's top under-19s, just a couple of places ahead of Moise Kean

Sandro Tonali has yet to feature in Serie A but the Brescia midfielder is the highest-ranked Italian in the 2019 NxGn.

The 18-year-old playmaker, who has been labelled the 'new Andrea Pirlo', finished seventh in our annual list of the top 50 Under-19s in the world.

It's certainly been an incredible 12 months for Tonali, who nailed down a regular starting berth at Brescia last season before helping Italy reach the final of the 2018 European Under-19 Championship.

Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini was impressed by what he saw of the gifted playmaker, handing the teenager a first senior call-up last November.

Tonali has yet to make his international bow but he continues to impress in Serie B and has now been recognised for his fine form with his seventh-placed finish in the 2019 NxGn.

Indeed, Manchester City prodigy Phil Foden was the only midfielder to rank above Tonali, who is now being linked with all of Serie A's biggest teams.

Italy has two other players in our 50-strong list, with Moise Kean taking ninth spot, and Pietro Pellegri coming home 24th.

Kean made his Azzurri debut in November, while he also bagged a Serie A double in Juventus' win over Udinese earlier this month.

Fellow forward Pellegri has been blighted by injuries since joining Monaco but the fact that he was called up by Mancini last September underlines just how highly rated he is in Italy.

Indeed, with Tonali pulling the strings in midfield, and Pellegri and Kean up top, Italy's goalscoring problems should soon be a thing of the past.