Even before the (football) world came to a screeching halt due the coronavirus pandemic, Chelsea left back Emerson was seeing very little action. His last start had come in January, in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal, with just three bench appearances in Chelsea’s eight matches in all competitions since.
He had started the season as Lampard’s first-choice left back, but has slowly fallen out of favor — with César Azpilicueta preferred in back-four setups and Marcos Alonso in back-three/wing-back formations — a reverse trend from last season under Maurizio Sarri, when Emerson had slowly worked his way into the starting role ahead of Alonso.
And while football may be on hiatus for now, that (probably) won’t last forever. Eventually, clubs and national teams will get back to playing. But if Emerson is to do the same, he has his work cut out for him. He needs minutes, both for his club career and for his national team hopes — especially if he wants to be part of Euro
2020 2021, as Italy manager Roberto Mancini saw fit to remind him this weekend while mulling over his options in defense for an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It would be nice if Emerson Palmieri, who hasn’t played much for Chelsea, could come and play in Italy.”
Emerson is still fairly young (will turn 26 this summer) and has two more years left on his Chelsea contract, but that just makes it even more important that he figure out the next step in his career — whatever that may be. He has been linked with Juventus and Inter Milan in recent months, so perhaps Mancini will get his wish.