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Daniele Rugani's first Serie A season has been the model of consistency

The good kind of consistency, not the constantly crappy option.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

When people talk about the next wave of talent that is on Juventus' books and/or radar, a lot of it is centered around the Sassuolo boys, Domneico Berardi and Simone Zaza. But for as much potential as those two talented young strikers possess, the same can be said for Daniele Rugani, who's currently on loan at Empoli and just had his contract bought in full on the last day of the winter transfer window.

Unlike the first two, though, this is Rugani's first trip through the marathon that is the Serie A season. Thirty-eight rounds of ups and downs can potentially throw young players for a whole lot of loops. Instead of going under during his first trip down to the deep end, Rugani has done more than enough to prove he can hang with the

The massive amount potential Rugani possessed that we heard about before the season, yeah, it's showing to be more than capable of holding his own.

When a young player goes out on loan, you want them to get playing time. And, if at all possible, you want that playing time to be as consistent as it can possibly be in a good kind of way. When it comes to Rugani's first season in Serie A, he's not just taking advantage of all the playing what currently stands at 2,160 minutes through 24 rounds, he's absolutely thriving.

Even more impressive?

In this season's first 24 games — which, of course, Rugani has taken part in and started every single one of them — the young Italian defender has yet to be issued a yellow card. Not one. Not even for a bad or mistimed tackle. That could very well be even more impressive than playing the max amount of minutes possible an outfield player is allowed this season. We heared about how composed and how smooth of a defender Rugani is entering the year, which is only confirmed when you watch the kid play with Empoli. That's Exhibit A as to what level he is on at such a relatively young age.

Just for a Juventus-related comparison for obvious reasons, there's this: The Juventus defender with the most appearances this season, Leonardo Bonucci, has been issued six yellow cards in 23 Serie A games (all of which are starts).

Another Rugani-Juventus way of looking at things: None of Juve's three main center backs — Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Angelo Ogbonna — have a pass completion rate above 90 percent. Where does Rugani's passing stat fall? Right at 90 percent, which has him tied for ninth-best in Serie A with Roma's Daniele De Rossi.

So let's recap: Rugani is 20 years old. He's playing in his first season in Italy's top flight. Through 24 games, Rugani, a product of Juventus' youth academy, has played every single minute of every single game this season. And, to top everything else off, Rugani has not even been disciplined once despite playing a position that could easily see him rack up cards if he doesn't watch himself.

Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good foundation to build upon. Or maybe the true and sturdy foundation was put down a couple of years ago and Rugani is just building off of what is already there. Either way, Rugani has all the talent — and the composure/intangibles — you look for in a young defender.

With Juventus now owning all 100 percent of Rugani's contract, the odds have definitely improved that he could be house-hunting in Turin come the beginning of next season. He's already gotten his first Italian senior national team call-up out of the way, and will probably be a regular for Antonio Conte if he keeps playing the way he is these days. He has much-needed Serie A experience and will only continue to do so if he stays healthy this season.

"Is Rugani ready for Juventus? He's ready for any club at European level. He's a star in the making, he's got everything. I just hope he finds a team where he can play immediately."

-- Empoli manager Maurizio Sarri (via Football Italia)

One thing is for sure, though: Daniele Rugani, all 20 years old of him, has a future in this game we call football. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who hopes that it will be in a Juventus jersey as early as next season.