Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Matthew Coccoluto On November - 29 - 2011

Player Focus: Hard Work and Determination Personified Simone Pepe

Following the big win on Saturday at Lazio, there has been a lot of talk about game winner Simone Pepe. A year ago there was a giant question mark in the minds of Juventini about the arrival of the Italian international on loan from Udinese. His career prior to Juventus had been one of uncertainty, as the winger had bounced around for most of his youth until finally stringing a few years together at the Udine side. He earned a start in every game in South Africa and although he showed some serious flaws, his bright moments caught the eye of Gigi Del Neri who signed the winger on loan. His first year in Torino was marked by highs and lows but under Antonio Conte, the winger has found a home and the fans have rallied behind him.

If you had to describe Simone Pepe in one word, it would be worker. The man is one of the hardest working players in the world. He gives it all for the team every minute he is on the pitch. There are times when he is not perfect, his tackling is still suspect, but those mistakes can be overlooked by his determination. It is clear now that Pepe flourishes on the right wing. Under Del Neri, Pepe rarely got the nod on the right due to Milos Krasic, but this season has seen the reverse as Krasic struggles to find playing time while Pepe is a permanent fixture. It is most likely Pepe’s work ethic that has earned Conte’s confidence in the winger. Coming into this season, Antonio Conte discussed the importance of a full team effort and players who are willing to give it all for the team until they cannot run anymore. Simone Pepe personifies Conte’s dream for Juve. Pepe always stresses the importance of the team in every interview and is quick to turn praise for his play towards the efforts of his teammates. It remains uncertain where Pepe will fall in Juventus history but for this season his tireless effort has been vital for the clubs success. His attitude and work rate makes him the antithesis of the flashy, diving footballers that many have grown accustomed to.

Pepe is the type of footballer that every team needs. In today’s game, a complete team desiring to win it all needs the playmakers, its leaders who dictate the flow of the game and Juventus have that in Pirlo yet  just as vital are those foot soldiers, the players who do nothing but hustle, the Simone Pepes of the world.

It is not to say that he is without any skill, but what separates Pepe from other players is his ability to fight for every ball, all over the pitch, until his legs cannot carry him. Pepe may never receive the worldwide recognition that the flashy playmakers get, but he will earn the recognition of the fans and the football enthusiasts. Pepe’s hard work has not only earned him the praise of Conte but also the Juventus fan base. Some were happy to see Juve sign him this past offseason, others had their doubts, while there were some who signed it off as a waste of money, but Simone has brought them all onto his side. He has earned the fans’ love and also the recognition of Prandelli as he now finds himself back in the national team. The future is still uncertain for Simone but, for now, Juventus have found a man who will give anything for the team and his wants are the same as the teams.

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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