After two months waiting in the wings, as reported by Tuttomercatoweb, the 22-year-old finally made his long-awaited debut in Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Pescara. But is this a turning point for the young shot-stopper?
He certainly needed a lucky break.
Gollini arrived at Villa Park in the summer with ambitions to be the club’s new long-term number one though his youthful inexperience, coupled with an inability to command his area, meant Steve Bruce soon lost faith in the former Manchester United youngster, admitting that his mistakes had cost the team in a defect to Leeds in December, the Birmingham Mail reported.
As such, the goalkeeper relegated with Hellas Verona last season returned to Serie A in January when Sam Johnstone arrived at Villa Park, joining an overachieving, European chasing Atalanta on an 18-month loan deal – although the presence of the in-form Etrit Berisha and rising star Marco Sportiello meant he faced up to the prospect of being the Bergamo club’s third choice.
However, while last week’s 7-1 humiliation at Inter Milan cast a shadow over a hitherto outstanding campaign, a shaky display from the usually solid Berisha has handed Gollini his opportunity at last.
And he took it with both hands, both figuratively and metaphorically, impressing in a 3-0 cruise against doomed Pescara.
“I’m glad about my debut for Atalanta. I could not ask for a better birthday present,” Gollini, who turned 22 a day before the game, told Tuttomercatoweb.
Gollini’s Aston Villa future looks bleak while Bruce remains in charge but at least the goalkeeper, once tipped as Gianluigi Buffon’s heir apparent, can begin re-establishing his reputation in familiar surroundings.