20th February 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Emerson Palmieri's encouraging finish to last season was a reward for all his hard work in training trying to impress his manager, the tactically sophisticated AS Roma's Luciano Spalletti.

With Lucas Digne ahead of him in the pecking order, Emerson's patience and persistence finally paid off, with Spalletti granting him some valuable appearances off the bench and one start towards the end of the 2015/2016 campaign.

In Roma's final match of the crusade, against AC Milan, a game the Giallorossi went on to win 3-1, this served as a landmark occasion for the Brazilian. Coming off the bench, the then Santos loanee produced a splendid cameo that culminated in him scoring his first ever league goal for the club.

"I'm happy to have the coach's faith," a delighted Emerson said after the game. "I'm doing everything I can to get onto the pitch and the boss is seeing that. I can't let up now I need to keep going the way I am."

He's importantly carried his momentum into this season, with him becoming a vital component of Spalletti's plans. Helped by Digne's departure and new signing Mario Rui's devastating ACL injury in preseason, Emerson's made the most of his opportunities, cementing his position as Roma's first choice left-back/left wingback.

Indeed, his emergence has been one of the real positives of Roma's excellent campaign so far. The fact he's started 15 league matches, a number that would be higher had he not missed matches through injury, aptly evidences his remarkable rise. Moreover, considering his untimely red card in Roma's loss to FC Porto in their Champions League qualifier, and Emerson deserves additional credit for responding so wonderfully thereafter.

It's clear the 22-year-old is loving being a mainstay of this side, something he noted recently in an interview with Roma's official website, saying: "When you're picked on a consistent basis, you can play with greater freedom and that's why you're starting to see what I can do. I'm delighted about that."

He then went onto add how grateful he is that Spalletti's given him a chance and showed a tremendous amount of faith in him since he took over the managerial reigns roughly a year ago. "All I can do is thank him. He always defended me and I simply must do my talking on the pitch," he insisted.

"With Spalletti it was different right from the start: he always showed he believed in me and that's important to a footballer."

Positively, having met a clause in his contract that stated if he played 12 games or more in the first half of this season, Roma are obliged to buy him for just €2 million, the player will now be Roma's permanently as soon as they and Santos sort out the finer details.

Under Spalletti, it's been terrific to see him playing at such a consistently high level and witness him develop so rapidly. Whether operating at fullback or wingback, or sometimes alternating between both depending if Roma are attacking or defending, he's shown off his tactical acuity wonderfully.

While his pace, dribbling ability and tidy passing competency have seen him contribute impressively in attack (the strongest area of his game), it's been encouraging to see him make big improvements to his defensive game. Scrubbing up on the finer details, such as his positional sense and his judgment of when to press or hold his position, has unquestionably seen his aptitude in this regard progress steadily, something Spalletti deserves plenty of credit for too.

After knowing how challenging it was to nail down his spot within this quality laden Roma squad, you can guarantee Emerson will keep working as hard as ever to ensure he remains a key figure in his manager's plans. At just 22, and with still such a huge scope for improvement, there's no reason to suggest his remarkable rise to prominence can't continue.

Although it wasn't easy at the beginning for him in Rome, Emerson's a fantastic example for any young player of just how important the understated virtues of patience and persistence truly is.