SHEFFIELD United will receive compensation after Diego De Girolamo was injured representing Italy’s under-18’s, writes James Shield.
Talks between officials at Bramall Lane and the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio took place last week after De Girolamo damaged a knee during a friendly with Austria earlier this month.
The striker, regarded as one of the finest talents to emerge from United’s youth programme in recent years, is scheduled to visit a specialist tomorrow before an accurate diagnosis is made.
Regulations formulated by FIFA, world football’s governing body, stipulate that national associations are obliged to recompense a player’s parent club if they are hurt on international duty.
However the exact amount United are scheduled to bank, together with the method and structure of payment, remains unclear.
“Our main concern is for Diego and his well-being,” a United source confirmed. “There have been discussions about compensation because it’s something the Italian authorities realise we, like any other club in this position, are entitled to.
“But the most important thing is to make sure that Diego is back and playing again as soon as possible. That’s what our focus is on.”
De Girolamo attracted interest from several Premiership teams before signing professional terms with United five months ago.
He made two League One appearances after making his debut during December’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Coventry City and won his first Italy cap during the Granatkin Memorial Cup tournament in Russia after electing to represent Alberigo Evani’s side rather than England.
Arrigo Sacchi, Evani’s mentor as a player with AC Milan, personally intervened in the race for the 17-year-old’s services when the FA began to monitor his progress in the Professional Development League.
Born in Chesterfield, De Girolamo qualifies for Italy courtesy of his Neapolitan father and scored his third in six outings goal for the Azzurrini against the Austrians in Salò.
Danny Wilson, the United manager, has refused to speculate on the nature of the teenager’s injury. But, speaking before last weekend’s game at Stevenage, acknowledged: “It’s a real shame for Diego and a real shame for us too.
“Our primary concern now is to make sure that he gets the best possible care and rehabilitation so he can resume playing again.
“We’re not sure exactly what the problem is but we should hopefully know when he goes to have it properly examined on the 20th (of March). Until then, it would be wrong to make any assumptions.”