Pantaleo Corvino, the former Lecce director of sporting operations, revealed his early frustration with Southampton sensation Graziano Pelle, who used to play for Lecce as a youth player. Pelle, 29, has enjoyed a fantastic start to the Premier League season with the Saints, scoring four goals in his first six appearances for the third-place club, and earning a first call-up to Antonio Conte’s Italy squad.
However, according to Corvino, Pelle nearly chose to pursue a career in dancing, instead of soccer. “At Lecce Graziano frustrated me. There was his background in dancing and up to the age of 16 he did not know which path to follow more seriously,” Corvino tells the Corriere dello Sport. “But thinking about it, if Pelle has arrived where he has today then it must also be down to the dancing, in that it has improved his coordination and dexterity.”
He added: “Forwards like he and [Hellas Verona striker] Luca Toni mature later, whilst if players of his size do not score goals, they are ‘dead' ... Graziano is a striker in the pure sense. He is one that needs to be provided service. But Conte will take care of this. And if Pelle can learn to protect the ball like Toni, then he can really become a top player.”