AC Milan's injury problems in attack have opened the door for teenager Francesco Camarda who was called up to the squad to face Fiorentina and the 15-year-old has the talent to overcome his young age, manager Stefano Pioli said on Friday.
Rafael Leão was substituted with a hamstring injury early in Milan's last game with Lecce and is still sidelined, and his replacement in that game, Noah Okafor, suffered a thigh injury while on international duty with Switzerland.
Olivier Giroud is suspended for the Serie A game with Fiorentina after his red card in the 2-2 draw with Lecce, leaving Pioli short on options up front, and youngster Camarda has been drafted in from the youth team.
Francesco Camarda called up for Milan
⚫️ Confirmed: AC Milan decide to call up Francesco Camarda with first team to face Fiorentina @ San Siro.15 year old Italian striker born in 2008 has been authorised by Federation to feature on Saturday.
Special moment for Camarda who’ll turn 16 in March. pic.twitter.com/eA0IPC7Vxw
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 23, 2023
"Talent has no age, and he has a lot of it," Pioli said.
"Destiny sometimes creates opportunities for you, we will need to be good at accompanying him in his growth because we are talking about a very young boy."
If Camarda makes an appearance, he will become the youngest-ever player in Serie A, at 15 years, eight months and 15 days old, beating the record set by Wisdom Amey who played for Bologna in 2021 at 15 years, nine months and one day old.
Luka Jovic is expected to start as striker against his former teammates, but Pioli has no doubt that Camarda, who will wear number 73, will be ready if called upon.
"From a character point of view Camarda is very mature, he is ready to give us a hand if needed, in these days he has done very well.
"I'm sure he'll have a great future."
Jovic, on-loan from Fiorentina, has yet to score for Milan in his seven appearances but Pioli is confident the Serbian can fill in for the absentees.
"I talk to him every day, he knows what I expect from him and he knows his role," the manager said.
"Now he knows our way of playing. He has everything very clear to make his contribution."
There was some good news on the injury front for Milan, as Pioli confirmed that Davide Calabria, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic are all available for Saturday's game at the San Siro.
CHRISTIAN PULISIC seen heading out to training with Milan after missing the latest USMNT fixtures due to ‘muscle fatigue’. Latest reports from Tuttosport are CP11 will start on left against Fiorentina Saturday. pic.twitter.com/8ROR85SHSs— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) November 22, 2023
Milan are third in Serie A, eight points behind leaders Inter Milan, while Fiorentina are three points behind Pioli's side in sixth.
(Reporting by Trevor Stynes, Editing by Toby Davis)