Scottish teenager storms Serie A with pasta, parks and plays for Mihajlovic – The Athletic

After a season and a half in Bologna, Aaron Hickey knows, deep down, that living in the shadow of the Asinelli and Garisenda towers has changed him.

“I just don’t know what it is,” he told The Athletic. The 19-year-old is no less Scottish than when he left Edinburgh’s Hearts, but the Italian influence has seeped in like a drizzle of olive oil on gnocco fritto.

Ironically, it’s when he tries to put his finger on it that it comes to his mind.

“Hand gestures! Hickey laughs. “I know every one of them.”

He picked them up on the way from the old town to the Bologna training ground at Casteldebole, west of the city. At the traffic lights. In his mirrors. On the pavement.

“Italians are crazy in the car,” he says.

Particularly around here. Emilia-Romagna, the region in northern Italy where Bologna is located, is famous, among other things, for being home to the Ferrari factory, or stable as it is called, and locals approach their commute as if they were trying to get into Q3 at Monza.

“They park so close to you and all that.”

When Hickey arrives at work and walks through the doors of a used Roberto Mancini teenager in the early 1980s, the locker room is no less bustling than the roads outside.

“People are chatting as usual and they’re still shaking hands when they’re right next to each other,” Hickey says, shaking his head at the hilarity of it all. Bologna’s in-form winger Riccardo Orsolini is loud and usually has his teammates in stitches. Lorenzo De Silvestri sets the music on. De Silvestri speaks English, so he took his fellow fullback under his wing. “We’re all close,” Hickey said.

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