Locatelli is primarily deployed as a deep lying midfielder, primarily operating in a attacking role in front of the team’s defence, in a position similar to that of his idol Andrea Pirlo, due to his ability to create chances or dictate the tempo of his team’s play in midfield with his passing range. A versatile midfielder, he can also play in a box-to-box role, or as a wing-leaning offensive–minded central midfielder in a 4–3–3 formation, alternatively known as the mezzala role in Italian football jargon, although this is not his preferred position; he has occasionally even been used as an attacking midfielder, a position in which he was initially fielded in his youth, before being moved into a deeper midfield role. While he is not particularly fast, he is an elegant and quick-thinking player, who possesses excellent vision, passing, ball control, technique, and dribbling skills, as well as a powerful and accurate shot from long range. His reading of the game, defensive work-rate, tactical intelligence, and ball-winning abilities are also optimal for a defensive midfielder. His playing style has been compared to that of Argentine midfielder Fernando Redondo, but with more of an offensive mindset, due to his ability to make late attacking runs off the ball from behind; he has also been likened to other playmakers such as Xavi, Zinedine Zidane, and Demetrio Albertini. Considered to be a promising young player, in 2015 The Guardian named him one of the 50 best young players in the world who were born in 1998. Locatelli made his debut with the senior Italy squad on 7 September 2020, playing as a starter in a 1–0 UEFA Nations League victory against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. On 28 March 2021, Locatelli scored his first goal for Italy, the second of a 2–0 away win over Bulgaria in a 2022 World Cup qualification match. In June 2021, Locatelli was included in Italy’s squad for UEFA Euro 2020 by manager Roberto Mancini. On 16 June, he scored two goals in Italy’s second group stage match, a 3–0 win against Switzerland. Although he started in Italy’s first two group games of the tournament, he was later relegated to the bench following the recovery of the injured Marco Verratti. On 6 July, in the semi-final of the competition against Spain, Locatelli came on as a substitute for Nicolò Barella late in the second half of regulation time; following a 1–1 draw after extra-time, he took Italy’s first spot-kick in resulting shoot-out, which was saved by Unai Simón, although Italy ultimately advanced to the final 4–2 on penalties. On 11 July, Locatelli won the European Championship with Italy following a 3–2 penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley Stadium in the final, after a 1–1 draw in extra-time; Locatelli made a substitute appearance during the final, coming on for Verratti in the first half of extra-time.