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Thursday September 6 2018
Italy need the real Insigne

Lorenzo Insigne needs to replicate his Napoli form on the international scene if he is to keep his place in the Italy side, warns Nick Valerio.

In a move away from predecessor Gian Piero Ventura, Roberto Mancini’s new look Azzurri included a host of youngsters with Pietro Pellegri and Nicolò Zaniolo the two standout talents of their age group in Italy. They are ones for the future, but when it comes to the present, Lorenzo Insigne is facing pressure to stand up and be counted.

Perhaps the biggest accusation leveled at Ventura after the World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden was his refusal to take Insigne off the bench, even when an attacking spark was desperately needed. Yet is there really evidence he would’ve made the difference?

Mancini is likely to start with a 4-3-3 against Poland, with Mario Balotelli an option to lead the line. On the flanks, there is much for the Premier League-winning boss to ponder as Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi battle it out for the final two spots. Each player has their merits, and the expectation is it will be Insigne plus one, with the Neapolitan getting the nod because of his obvious ability, but it is time for the diminutive forward to deliver internationally.

Insigne is not a youngster anymore. The Partenopei idol is now 27 and in this heavily revamped Italy, should be grasping the mantle as a leader. He must translate his devastating club form because all Calcio viewers know what he is capable of. Insigne has a highlight reel to rival the very best, but a return of four strikes from 26 Azzurri appearances simply isn’t good enough.

Mancini is unlikely to tolerate a similar return over the next four years, particularly with an invigorated Bernardeschi and the dazzling Chiesa at his disposal. Pleasingly for Mancini, Bernardeschi has started two of Juventus’ first three matches and has not looked out of place alongside the world’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo. The Bianconeri Number 33 is keeping out Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala, two men who expect to be starting week in, week out, and it must do wonders for his confidence that Max Allegri trusts him.

Former Viola team-mate Chiesa will also harbour ambitions of nailing down a regular spot and is perhaps Insigne’s biggest threat. While Chiesa and Bernardeschi favour the wide right role, both are equally adept on the other side and the son of Enrico has proven he has what it takes. Chiesa made an instant impact off the bench in the friendly against England in March and offers something different to everyone else in the squad, a real winger who gets his head down and drives at the opposition.

For Insigne, this campaign is his biggest test yet. Partenopei boss Carlo Ancelotti is experimenting with his squad in a way Maurizio Sarri infamously refused to, and the Neapolitan must now raise his game for both club and country.

Have your say...
Italian players lack the grace and technical skill of their predecessors.

Italian football needs to restructure player development. Producing to Many "half Talent" Players that struggle to strike the ball with proper technique/power and with Zero weak foot ability. Also Italian talents are being left behind also on athletic levels.
on the 14th September, 2018 at 4:12pm
The real Insigne showed up last night. Ineffectual and useless, true to form. Bravo Insiginho!!
on the 9th September, 2018 at 1:43am
"He isn't a striker at all"

Yet he has the most shots according to stats. This even further proves how selfish he is.

And don't drag "Juventini" and Del Piero into this. That's a weak and pathetic argument. Stay on topic.
on the 8th September, 2018 at 2:28am
@Lupetto we all know the role of Insigne, so... and his size in his role is perfectly fine + he is pretty strong on his feet.
@Italian in Canada so you are telling me that it is easy to push Tevez of the ball, or R. Carlos.
no the term diminutive is just unneeded especiall in an article about Insigne who's physic is know to all the readers and I don't see it relevant in this context.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 8:51pm
If you're comparing Insigne to Baggio, Del Piero, Totti, or to Hazard, Neymar, Mbappe, etc... he's not gonna live up. But neither does Berardi, or Bernadeschi, or Politano, or even Chiesa.
There is no denying Insigne has been Italy's best creative forward in the past 4 years.
Insigne isn't the only Italian who's failed for Nazionale, ie Verratti or Immobile. Nazionale has been an organizational mess for years and we haven't seen any player reproduce their best form in Azzurri shirt since Pirlo.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 5:46pm
You guys are nuts. Insigne isn't Hazard or anything, but he's a player who has produced world class moments in big games. His spectacular goal vs. RM in the UCL? Freekick vs. Dortmund?
In his last 3 Serie A campaigns, he's scored 38 goals, provided 30 assists, and put in 20 MOTM performances, according to WhoScored.
In 16/17, Insigne's 7.67 performance rating was the 4th highest in the league, and the highest of any Italian.
In 17/18, his 7.51 was again the highest of any Italian.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 5:39pm
He isn't a striker at all, why blame him on game/goal ratio? You may judge Immobile/Belotti by that.

It is funny to read that juventini blamed Insigne just like he single-handedly wasted the EURO2000.
But the fact is, that's your idol Del Piero.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 4:47pm
Anyone else noticed Loca has started the season brightly?
on the 7th September, 2018 at 1:58pm
Cutrone & Calabria weren't called up cause Mancini said he couldn't take every single starter out of the u21.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 1:56pm
@mmmmmm -- Size has a lot to do with football; the smaller the player, the less imposing he is, and the easier it is to push him off the ball.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 1:20pm
There is no "real" Insigne. That "real Insigne" only exists within the pages of the over zealous Italian media and the minds of delusional fans.

He has always been average. He had the worst, the worst, finishing rate in Europe last season. He's selfish and wasteful.

Just last week, he had the audacity to angrily tell his teammate to open his eyes before passing, only to deliver an even worst pass himself minutes later. Let alone the many glory shots aimed at the skies.

Please, Italian media, let's move on to someone more interesting and worthy of the limelight.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 11:12am
from my point of view there is a projection to see Azzurri shine once more which is real time investment in YOUTH. it makes me hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel when a player like Moise Kean who had has done pretty well for U-19 & now starting good for U-20, so the others which Italy greatly has. However, looking at how the foreign players ruling the pitch in Serie A makes me a very sad person! knowing that Azzurri paying the price from the attitude of Club’s owners, GM & Coach
on the 7th September, 2018 at 9:21am
the fact that Cutrone or Calabria wasn't called up is ridiculous.

Its incredible, Cutrone if he keeps up, is becoming the new Pipo and Calabria with hes runs and crosses is just plain class for hes age
on the 7th September, 2018 at 9:12am
Here it is; Euro Nations League, First Tournament after WC failure! Italy starts once again with high expectations, after all Itay is a football superpower whether we argue about this or not! Now comes the rebuild, the pride of Italy “Azzurri”, so what hopes we have? do we trust on Mancini to do the job right? or are we gonna analyze the whole situation to realize if Italian Football taking the right path to be among the top as it was before or not?!
on the 7th September, 2018 at 9:02am
Such cute words from Rosicone "Rosati" and ZerocConoscenza "PrimoCalcio".

What you 2 buffoons don't realize is that for the past 3+ years, all Nabboli have done is bicker, bemoan, accuse, inflame, and instigate Juventus. With utter brainless nonsense of being cheats, pressuring officials, unfair advantage, and outright bring the scum of Italy. The desperation of Nabboli went to extremes last season, with every Nabboli player/fan saying they "deserved" a Scudetto.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 4:48am
Italian clubs need to play young Italian talent. Like Pirlo said; Italian clubs need to show courage play Italian players over foreign players.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 3:08am
Insigne is, as others have pointed out, very overrated. I have been hearing about his supposed talent since his days at Pescara, together with Veratti and Immobile, but they have all been disappointing. Italy needs to focus on Chiesa, Berardi, Bernardeschi, Politano and Orsolini. Up front, Cutrone and Pellegri should be the strikers while Bonucci and Chiellini should no longer be starting for Italy.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 2:12am
>>> was put in charge Italy already failed to qualify for WC18. But that’s in past.
Happy we got Mancini and hoping to see youth reignite the flame for Italy. Balo Sirigu Bonucci Chiellini have to lead by example.
on the 7th September, 2018 at 12:37am
Pfft if Italy are pinning any bit resurgence to being a world football power like it once was on Insigne... omg...we’re in worst shape than imagined.
To even compare him to Del Piero Totti Vieri let alone a Quag,or DiNatale is insane.hes simply not a clutch player. Not to open old wound but we all screamed and couldn’t understand why Ventura didn’t put him in. But would he of really made a difference? Italy were already dead in water after first leg...some might even say day Ventura was >>>
on the 7th September, 2018 at 12:25am
The more important question/concern is why the hell is Balotelli starting ?? What kind of shape is he in, only having played one game after spending the entire summer trying to escape Nice ??

I know hes Mancini's pet, but if anyone thinks were getting anything different than what he's given us on most occasions, your sadly mistaken.

Start Belotti or Immobile.....
on the 6th September, 2018 at 11:16pm
Anyone know why Cutrone wasn't called up?

Really hoping we finally see a decent Italian side that play with fire and grit.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 9:52pm
Lorenzo Insigne is the Most overrated italian of All-Time !! FACT: last year in a span of taking 120 shots on goal he only scored 7 goals and that is a 5.83 % scoring percentage and that is pathetic to say the least. I can't wait for Mancini to realize that the future on the left is Berardi who can shoot, deke, pass, head, take free kicks and not this Mr. Patato head figurine of a soccer player.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 9:31pm
Juve fans mad that they have a more Brazilian team than Italian "Bahahahaha"

Insigne will shine.... you'll see. He was given a garbage team with garbage formation/tactics to work with before.

The simple fact that he was benched was the reason we didn't make it to the WC
on the 6th September, 2018 at 8:36pm
Insigne got a lot of haters, especially Juve shaped ones. When your team wins 7 straight titles and still aren't happy without slinging mud at other Italians in the Nazionale, it means you have a poor mentality.

I mostly agree with the article. Insigne's got magic in his boots but can he make the step up psychologically? If not, then he will soon be replaced by Chiesa because that kid is lightning.
Lorenzo improved under Sarri, but he'll have to do so again under Ancelotti.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 6:41pm
Mancini moaned in the press earlier this week that the clubs need to play Italians, then doesnt call up Calabria or Cutrone who both play regularly at the top level for one of the top clubs in Italy. If this guy is going to have a bias toward non Milan players we're finished as Milan currently play more Italians and Italian youth than all the other top 6. Insigne is finished, Chiesa is our future, hes been fantastic so far again this year. Very smart of him to stay in Florence again.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 6:16pm
Italian football has learnt nothing from their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The beginning of the new 18/19 season has clearly identified continued problems in Italian club football that continues to have a profound impact upon the national teams status as a world footballing power, and I believe that as long as these trends continue, Italian football may never recover.

Promising young players such as Perin, Rugani, Zappacosta, Caldara, Pellegrini, Cristante, Gagliardini, Di Sciglio, Verdi etc, have commenced the season keeping the substitutes bench warm, while cheaper foreign players have taken their place in the starting line-up. Roberto Mancini is then ultimately forced to select his squad from players that have subsequently had little match time this season. Seven of the current squad (to face Poland and Portugal) have barely kicked a football this season so far, and a number of others haven’t had that much more. Indeed, if Football Italia’s Probable Italy Line-up is correct, then Italy will be starting with two players who have barely kicked a football this season, in Zappacosta and Pellegrini.

Roberto Mancini is right to criticise Italian club managers about not playing Italian players. But he should remember that he wasn’t much different when he was manager at Inter, often overlooking young Italian talent for cheaper foreign players.

The problem facing the Italian national team doesn’t stop at club teams. For years the national team has overlooked promising Italian players. Recently, players like Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella, the latter of which has flourished in Serie A consistently for over a decade; have been ignored in favour of less-prolific strikers like Simoné Zaza and Eder. In Fabio Quagliarella’s case, he hasn’t played for the national team since 2010, which is pretty much the start of the national teams demise. He is in my opinion one of the most underrated strikers the world with a game/goal ratio of 3/1, and he should have spearheaded the national teams forward line for at least the last decade. The national teams failure to select the best Italian players has also been evident in the last two years with the exclusion of Jorginho under the leadership of Ventura. In the past, we’ve seen it with GianFranco Zola, Fabrizio Miccoli, Antonio Di Natalie and others.

What is the FIGC doing about these problems? From the outside, it would appear, not very much. Their creation of another tier of Italian football may offer a glimmer of hope, but if the current trends I’ve highlighted above continue, I can’t see Italy becoming a world footballing superpower again during my lifetime, and we will be confined to watching England get further than us in major tournaments for the foreseeable future.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 4:27pm
They need Cutrone.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 4:20pm
I was done with insigne before they lost to Sweden and I wish he would never play for italy. Totally different player on napoli than Italy! I don't know why he keeps getting time to prove himself he's had his shot and yet he still starts. Bring in chiesa bring in bonaventura bring in politano. They're better for italy no doubt
on the 6th September, 2018 at 3:46pm
No Italy need real talent, speed and physique, like Totti, like Baggio, not this overrated mediocre midget.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 3:00pm
Just a short follow-up, there are some particularly interesting young defenders coming up through the ranks.
Who, much to my joy, have been bought by Serie A clubs in what is a rather recent and pleasant trend.
I'm sure the young lads are stoked.

But the crux of the matter remains - as pointed out in the comment section - that these young talents have to play regularly.
on the 6th September, 2018 at 2:45pm

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