Sunday July 23 2017
Appreciating Jorginho

Though incredibly skilled and creative, Napoli’s Jorginho remains an under-appreciated commodity in Italy, argues Matthew Santangelo.

Roma’s Radja Nainggolan and Napoli’s Marek Hamsik are among the many gifted central midfielders that come to mind in Serie A. Needing no introduction, the two shoulder leadership responsibilities while also impacting their unit from the moment they step on to the pitch. However, for other class-A players like Jorginho, it takes a bit more mindfulness of his talent to grasp what a superbly gifted playmaker he truly is.

Before his move to Napoli in January 2014, Jorginho plied his trade at Hellas Verona, spending seven years honing his skills. Then-Milan CEO Adriano Galliani courted the 25-year-old, doing all within his power – and confines of the club’s working budget - to bring him to San Siro.

Since arriving at the San Paolo under Rafa Benitez, Jorginho has been somewhat overlooked, despite supplying his every manager with the luxury of versatility. A tremendous understanding of each midfield role, Jorginho’s profile is a Coach’s dream, especially for Maurizio Sarri, who tactically operates differently to the average boss.

Sturdiness and composure on the ball makes Jorginho difficult to dispossess. These qualities translate extremely well in a ball-winning role, or at the base as a deep-lying playmaker where he can freely distribute with accuracy, and comfortably dictate tempo due to increased time on the ball.

Jorginho, strangely, has earned a cult following of sorts in foreign areas for these exact traits, notably from England where Premier League advocates have the utmost confidence in his skill-set being of great use to several top clubs.

Analytically, Jorginho’s main midfield statistics - more or less – stack up quite well with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti and Milan’s newest string-pulling regista Lucas Biglia. Last season, the Napoli man’s pass completion (91%) was slightly better than both Verratti (89%) and Biglia (87%) in a per 90 metric rating. Additionally, his interceptions per 90 metric (2.19) fell slightly under the ex-Lazio playmaker (2.30), but were well above the Parisian star (0.92).

Whether it’s been under Benitez, Mazzarri or current boss Sarri, the Brazilian-born Jorginho has always maintained a certain level of professionalism, even if he knows his exploits merit a starting spot. Seldom does a player so well-rounded like Jorginho find himself battling for recognition, but perhaps it’s motivated him to press on and prove his worth year in and year out.

As we enter a World Cup year, Jorginho will no doubt look to outplay the perceived super-sub label that’s been placed upon him over the years in Naples, and emerge as one of Italian football’s truly elite midfielders.

Should Jorginho rise to the occasion and become Napoli’s key cog in a possible Scudetto run, there is reason to believe Italy Coach Giampiero Ventura will bring him to Russia next summer. Holding just two international caps to his name with the Azzurri, 2017-18 could be the year Jorginho breaks out – for both club and country – and finally gets the proper credit he deserves.

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Have your say...
Goodness...Sturaro over Jorginho? Listen, we could use him. He wants to play for Italy tho. Ventura, as well as other Italian coaches, love to nationalize good Brazilians to play for Italy. But in this case they have a terrific Brazilian who actually is a little Italian, and he isn't, he's a nugget if he keeps it up (words of a Marchisio fan).
on the 27th July, 2017 at 3:10pm
The only player who can be drawn parallels with casemiro is diawara, an enforcing midfielder who sits back. Allan may be enforcing but he roams around in attack. Jorginho may sit back but his primary role is to set the tempo and isn't utilised for his ball winning abilities.
Back to the topic...
Jorginho's a terrific player, he's a bit quiet outside of the pitch (maybe he needs to showcase some personality and grit) but that should not deter him from playing for Italy. Really a mystery...
on the 24th July, 2017 at 10:11pm
Quality player. Napoli have a very nice headache with midfield because Hamsik, Diawara, Zielinski, Allan and Jorginho are all high quality options. For me though Hamsik and Jorginho are the must starts in that bunch.

Jorginho really should get more frequent call-ups to the Azzurri, even as a JUVE fan I don't get why Sturaro is chosen over him.
on the 24th July, 2017 at 5:04pm
I really like Jorginho and would happily see him come to Juve
on the 24th July, 2017 at 10:09am

Casemiro? Lol, what's the comparison? They're nothing alike. Allan, ok. Jorginho? Uhhh....

He's terrific. I see Busquets, a career made of watching the ball go over his head and playing nice one touch passes to Xavi (with Iniesta in front), regarded by many as the best in the world in his position (barf, literally).

But this guy is what people pretend Busquets is. Jorginho is genuinely terrific. And Sarri killed Napoli last year by sitting him and Allan against Madrid.

on the 23rd July, 2017 at 8:18pm
He reminds me of the role Casemiro plays at Madrid. Inevitably other players will get the headlines but yet he is the key piece in the teams play. So surprised Italy still don't use him as some of the mdfs that have made the national lineup in recent times have been beyond second rate aka montolivo
on the 23rd July, 2017 at 4:23pm
How the likes of Sturaro and Parolo have been chosen ahead of him is beyond me. Conte also made a huge mistake in not taking him to Euro 2016. Given the fragility of Veratti and the advancing years of DDR & Marchisio, Jorginho really should be given a consistent look in. He is one of the main reasons why Napoli are so attractive to watch.
on the 23rd July, 2017 at 8:54am
Surely one of the most under-rated midfielders in Serie A. The worker type with Brazilian technical excellence to boost, Jorginho has been doing the great dirty works for Napoli to great effect. No surpise he was sought after outside of Italy. Another good season will get him the recognition he deserves. Italy will benefit a great deal from his service.
on the 23rd July, 2017 at 8:53am
He's a quality footballer. He'll never get the headlines (like Michael Carrick), but to those who know the game and work with him on a daily basis, value him very much.

He's for sure, in my opinion the best midfielder we have to let Hamsik do his thing, giving us stability, shape and a player you uses the ball better than Allen and Diawara when building up attacks. He'll get his 35 games again.

If Italy don't use him, there loss I'm afraid, especially in this shortage of good midfield players
on the 23rd July, 2017 at 4:30am

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