Video: York will look to de Girolamo to provide new spark

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A CELESTIAL talent by the name of Diego famously revitalised the fortunes of the football-mad nation of Argentina just over a generation ago.

In the lexicon of the beautiful game, that particular forename will forever be associated with Diego Armando Maradona, some would argue the greatest of the great.

Diego De Girolamo, now on loan at York City. Picture: Martyn Harrison.

Diego De Girolamo, now on loan at York City. Picture: Martyn Harrison.

That is the only thing York City’s new loan recruit Diego de Girolamo is likely to share with his feted namesake.

Yet just as Maradona was assigned with providing the spark to re-ignite Argentina’s attacking fires in the early- to mid-Eighties, so the fervent hope of all at Bootham Crescent is that the Sheffield United loanee can prove the catalyst for a rise up the League Two table.

The Italian youth international, 19 earlier this week, did not kick a first-team ball in anger last season after suffering a serious knee injury in March 2013, but Blades supporters and many in the know in the game have been keeping abreast of recent developments.

Fully fit again, Chesterfield-born de Girolamo, who qualifies to play for Italy through his father, has drawn numerous scouts to the Blades’ recent development squad matches.

If the rumours are to be 
believed, Arsenal and Juventus are watching developments, long-term that is.

The Blades have been kept busy fielding approaches from several clubs lower down the ladder to take the skilful forward, who fired a hat-trick in the recent Under-21 game with Brentford, on loan.

And it is with York that the de Girolamo story will have its next chapter written, fresh from appearing for the Blades for the first time in 19 months in Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win at Hartlepool United.

A little bit of inside knowledge certainly helped along the way, with ex-York and Blades striker Richard Cresswell, on the coaching staff at Bootham Crescent, marking Nigel Worthington’s card about de Girolamo.

His arrival, initially for a month, is a timely boost for York boss Worthington, likely to be without Wes Fletcher and Michael Coulson for tomorrow’s trip to Newport, with Jake Hyde also a doubt with a calf strain.

Worthington, whose 21st-placed side have scored just twice in their past five games and have won just once in all competitions this season, said: “We have been missing a little spark for me.

“The kid is a footballer who looks at getting at defences and will have a dribble with the ball and get a shot off and look to join up with other players.

“He is a good young talent. He had a nasty injury about 18 months ago which set him back a little bit. But we have watched him on a few occasions this year and he played against us in the second half of a pre-season game.

“He’s neat and tidy and can create things and open things up for other people.

“I spoke to Nigel (Clough, Blades’ manager) and they have been looking after him for about six or seven weeks and it’s just a case of when he was ready to let him out on loan.

“Cressie actually knew a bit about him too, having been at the club, in terms of what talent he’s got and gave us very good information on the boy as well.”

Despite a slow start to the season, all and sundry at York remain confident they possess the wherewithal to rise up the table.

The club are entitled to be mindful they were in an almost identical position 12 months ago before kicking on outstandingly in the New Year to gatecrash the play-offs.

He may be exuding calm, but Worthington also acknowledges that expectations have been raised following their remarkable story in the second half of last season when it took a heavily-financed side in Fleetwood Town to end their captivating promotion dream.

Worthington, whose side did not lose a regular league game from January 28 to September 13, said: “We started the season off quite well and we were solid and getting a goal, but also conceding them.

“We had five or six draws, so it was a steady start without being too exciting.

“Then we lost three out of four which was disappointing after the win at Stevenage. It probably knocked us a little bit after the long run we have been on where we had not been beaten for a long time.

“I think it hurt a little bit more than what we thought.

“Hopefully, we have got that out of our system with a good solid performance and point against Portsmouth last weekend. Hopefully we can take that forward.

“There’s a lot of football left in this league. I, like everybody else, want to be doing better sooner rather than later and want to be sitting in the top three or four.

“Expectation is part and parcel of football. It (last season) was terrific for the club and supporters and great for the city.

“There is no reason why we cannot do that again. But we have got to get the killer instinct.”