AC Milan to Give Osimhen Starting Role After Napoli Rejects Striker’s Return

    Luciano Spalletti has confirmed that Victor Osimhen will start Tuesday’s Champions League clash with AC Milan after the Napoli striker failed to return to action against Hellas Verona.

    Osimhen has been sidelined for about three weeks after suffering a groin injury while playing for Nigeria last month, returning to the Napoli bench after a disappointing goalless draw on Saturday.

    Striker Osimhen was introduced for the final 20 minutes and came closest to breaking the deadlock with a furious volley hitting the crossbar as the Serie A leaders were held.

    Despite failing to score a league-record 21 goals this season, no Napoli player improved his five touches in Verona’s area throughout the game.

    Spalletti hopes Osimhen’s performance will help him enter Milan (lost 1-0 to Napoli) in top form, saying the mere sight of the striker turned the crowd at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium.

    “He will be a starter against AC Milan,” Spalletti said of Osimhen.

    “He has this structure where you can throw the ball at him or into space and he holds it.

    “He has many qualities. (Giacomo) Raspadori has almost all of them, but when we throw a long ball over his head, it gets hard for him.

    “Osimhen is now a fan favorite, so when he enters, he always inspires enthusiasm from the whole team.

    “Players like him are made of a different material, they have too many decisions to be normal, they have so many characteristics.”

    Asked why Napoli failed to make a breakthrough, Spalletti said: “We found a team that came close and took space from us. We need to know how to fill in the empty spaces.

    “A lot of difficulties came from Verona, the team was used to wasting time, as they were allowed today. I don’t see the time we’ve lost not being added anywhere.”

    Despite having only won one of their last four games in all competitions (D1 L2), Napoli are still 14 points clear of second-placed Lazio and on track to win their first scudetto since 1990.

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