As Josh Doig signs for Hellas here are five things he should know (from a fellow Scot in Verona):
1. It's HOT!!!
Temperatures in Verona later this week are expected to exceed 40° - that's double what he'll be used to at this time of year in his native Portobello! Fortunately, he'll be joining the team on its annual summer retreat in the mountain resort of Primiero, high in the Italian Dolomites, where the air is much fresher. Although he can expect some respite from the heat in the mountains, Doig will have to work hard to impress new head coach Gabriele Cioffi.
2. He's not the first Scot to wear Gialloblù
In fact, Josh will be the third Scotsman to wear the famous Gialloblù of Hellas Verona.
First came Joe Jordan, on the back of a two-year spell with AC Milan. After earning promotion with Milan, Jordan switched allegiances to a high-flying and ambitious Hellas Verona side, but things didn't quite work out for the ex Leeds and Manchester United striker and he managed just just two goals in 24 appearances for Hellas. After a single season in Verona, he returned to England, first to Southampton then to Bristol City. "Lo Squallo" / The Shark still enjoys legendary status here in Verona for his combative approach to the game and his habit of removing his front teeth before entering the field of play!
It would be 25 years before another Scot wore Gialloblù. Midfielder Liam Henderson signed for Hellas Verona in 2018 after an impressive season with Bari. World Cup winning coach Fabio Grosso brought Henderson with him from Bari to Verona when he was appointed head coach at the start of the 2018/19 season but, while Henderson was one of the stars of the team that eventually won Hellas promotion back into Serie A, Grosso proved an unpopular choice and was dismissed with just a handful of games to play. The following season, Hendo became the first Scottish player to play in Serie A since Graeme Souness, but struggled to find game time under new coach Ivan Juric and was released on loan in the January transfer window. After an impressive season in Serie B with Lecce, last season Hendo returned to the top flight with Empoli where he was one of their most consistent performers.
If Doig can combine the combativeness and tenacity of Jordan with the technique and professionalism of Henderson, he too could become a Hellas legend!
3. Flying full-backs
Since Juric took over in 2019 and revolutionised their system and approach to the game, Hellas have deployed a 3-4-3 formation with rampaging fullbacks being a particular hallmark of their style of play. Fullbacks Darko Lazovic and Davide Faraoni have been two of Verona's most consistent and outstanding players in recent seasons, deployed in a midfield four, from where they have contributed goals and assists. Faraoni has made 126 appearances, 19 assists and 16 goals in the past four seasons, while Lazovic, who generally plays on the left, isn't far behind with 106 appearances, 21 assists and 8 goals.
Lazovic and Faraoni are dynamic, athletic and attack-minded fullbacks. Doig will have to work hard to earn his place in this crucial position. In fact, the versatile defender might well be asked to fit in to Verona's back three alongside Gunter and Dawidowicz, as a direct replacement for Nicolò Casale, who left recently for rivals Lazio. In any case, Doig's versatility may be his greatest asset if he is to secure a place in Cioffi's starting eleven.
4. Respect the Curva!
The Hellas Verona Curva is notoriously passionate, and that passion can sometimes spill into something uglier. The ultra loyal fans don't expect to win every game, but they do demand effort, loyalty, commitment and, above all, pride in the jersey. Display these qualities and you'll win over Curva. Always salute the fans after the game - if you've given your best you'll have nothing to fear!
5. Speak the lingo!
Learning Italian isn't easy, but here are a few phrases that might help in your first few days on the job!
Per me non esiste mondo fuori dalle mura di Verona! = For me there is no world without Verona walls!
Non contano i moduli, quando ci sono giocatori di qualità puoi giocare in qualsiasi modo = the formation doesn’t matter when there’s players of quality they can play in any position
È importante non prendere gol = it’s important not to concede
Penso solo alla prossima partita = I’m only thinking about the next game
Verticalizzazione = a direct style of play favoured by Hellas that involves playing vertically rather than horizontally
In bocca al lupo, Josh!