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Marchisio is known for his versatility and ability to play anywhere in midfield, as seen in various formations and positions he has been played in by his coaches. He has been used out wide in both a three- or four-man midfield, or as a defensive midfielder, but his preferred and most effective position is that of a central midfielder, where he is given the license to freely switch between defensive and attacking positions, instead of being limited to a single role. He is sometimes classified as an attacking central midfielder (known as a mezz’ala in Italian football), due to his penchant for scoring goals, rather than as a traditional deep-lying “creative” central midfielder (known as a regista in Italian football) in the mold of Andrea Pirlo. In the English language media he has been described as a “box-to-box midfielder” as he is neither a pure defensive nor an attacking midfielder, although he is able to play in both positions when necessary. He has also occupied a deeper playmaking role for his team, in particular after Pirlo’s departure in 2015, in which he has been praised for his ability to spread the ball wide, or dictate play in midfield with his passing. A former forward, with an eye for goal, he has also been fielded in more advanced roles, as a deep-lying forward or attacking midfielder in a 3–5–1–1 formation. Regarded as a precocious talent in his youth since his emergence in Juventus’s starting line-up, Marchisio’s physical strength, pace, energy, positional sense and tactical awareness in his prime allowed him to excel in the centre in a box-to-box midfield role, and enabled him to establish himself as one of the top midfielders of his generation in Italy, Europe, and the world. In spite of his ability, however, he has been known to have a tendency to be injury prone. Known for his adaptability, Marchisio’s role has evolved over the years as managerial styles and tactics have changed. During the early years of his career, he was paired in the centre alongside a defensive midfielder such as Felipe Melo in a four-man midfield and was left to play more of an offensive and creative role. During the 2011–12 season at club level, he was deployed effectively alongside Pirlo and Chilean international Arturo Vidal in Juventus’s three-man midfield in their 3–5–2 formation under Conte. A large part of Juventus’s success in Italy that season was due to the fact that Marchisio and Vidal were able to interchange quickly between defensive and attacking positions and compensate for Pirlo’s defensive weaknesses by leaving playmaking duties to the latter; this formation allowed all three midfielders to contribute with 19 league goals, almost a third of all goals scored by the team that season, as they went on to win the league. Under Prandelli’s tenure with the Italian national team, Marchisio has played a similar role in supporting Pirlo alongside Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, and has also played as a false-attacking midfielder on occasion. Since 2014, at club level, with Massimiliano Allegri’s switch in tactics, as well as Marchisio’s injury struggles, and Pirlo’s subsequent departure in 2015, Marchisio has been played in a much deeper, creative role, usually in front of the back-line, where he effectively provides the link between defence and offence by intercepting balls and disrupting the opposition’s play where necessary, while also looking to orchestrate attacking moves with his passing after winning back possession. One of Marchisio’s key strengths is his ability to switch from defence to offence seamlessly after winning back the ball, while remaining tactically disciplined in either role; his athleticism, tackling, vision, range of passing, and good reading of the game enables him to break down the opposition’s play, and quickly transition the ball forward to create chances for his more attack-minded teammates. Marchisio is also gifted with flair, agility, and excellent technique, as well as good dribbling skills and close control in tight spaces. These attributes, as well as his ability to pass and shoot with both feet, despite being naturally right-footed, make him a threat in the opponent’s half, especially in or outside the penalty area; if given the chance, he has been known to attempt a shot on goal, either from distance, or by finishing off a teammate’s pass after making late runs from behind into the area, – as exhibited by his goals against Cagliari in January 2014, Luxembourg in a June 2014 friendly, and England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Following Pirlo’s departure, he has also developed into an effective corner and indirect free kick taker. Due to his composed yet hard-working and tenacious style of play, Marchisio has garnered comparisons to Juventus legend and 1982 World Cup winner Marco Tardelli by the Italian press, who was arguably one of Italy’s greatest “two-way” midfielders. Marchisio has also cited Steven Gerrard as one of his major influences. In addition to his qualities as a footballer, Marchisio has also been credited with personality and leadership; indeed, since breaking into the first team, he developed a reputation as a big game player for the club, due to his penchant for scoring or setting up “clutch” goals during important games. During his first Serie A season with Juventus, all three of his goals were decisive – being either match-winners or the opening goal of the match. He has also scored crucial goals against Juventus’s derby rivals, Internazionale and Torino.