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Tuesday October 9 2018
Giovinco’s call concerning

While Sebastian Giovinco’s call-up to the Italian national team is being celebrated across MLS, Marco D’Onofrio explains why it may be a worrying sign for fans of the Azzurri.

Sebastian Giovinco’s Toronto FC were officially eliminated from MLS play-off contention when they fell 2-1 at home against Canadian rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night. Just a year after setting a new league record for most points in a season and lifting the Philip F Anschutz trophy as MLS Cup champions, the Reds didn’t even qualify for the post-season in 2018.

They did receive some good news last week though, as Sebastian Giovinco was re-called to the Italian national team for the first time under Roberto Mancini. The diminutive striker has never shied away from speaking about his desire to represent the Azzurri – even if he is plying his trade across the Atlantic.

“I’m very happy to be back with the national team, very happy,” said Giovinco. “I was surprised, to be honest, but I’ve done a good job here in Toronto and it’s always a pleasure to get called in. I can’t wait to get there.”

Mancini must be commended for keeping an open mind and wanting to see Giovinco up close, because nobody should be excluded from the national team simply because they play in MLS.

“There are coaches in the world who follow our league and are progressive; they understand the quality of our league. Then there are people who are stuck in the world of old, thinking of what MLS was 15, 20 years ago,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Mancini clearly has seen what the top players in our league can do on the international stage. You can look at the performances at the World Cup this summer and past World Cups, the production in Major League Soccer translates to any pitch in the world in any competition.”

While it is terrific news for the player, his club, and the league, many have been left questioning, why now? Statistically, it is one of Giovinco’s worst seasons since arriving in Toronto and the Azzurri seem to have a plethora of players with similar characteristics to the Atomic Ant.

The call-up has rightfully been celebrated around MLS circles as a sign of the league’s continued growth, but it may be worrying for Italian fans.

After all, Giovinco will be 33-years-old by the time Euro 2020 rolls around and for a country that is looking to build for the future after missing out on the World Cup, it’s hard to imagine the TFC striker being a part of that. While he has worked hard for the past three years to get another chance on the international stage ,and deserves the opportunity, it just doesn’t bode well for the re-building process that the Azzurri are apparently under.

There is little doubt that Mancini is sending a message to the rest of the peninsula by proving that he is willing to leave big names off his squad in favour of those getting it done domestically. However, nobody expects Giovinco to be there over the likes of Mario Balotelli, Andrea Belotti, or Simone Verdi, when the games really matter. With national team managers getting so little time to practice with their squad, it just feels like Giovinco was called up more to prove a point than to prepare for the future which may ultimately be the biggest reason for concern for supporters of the Nazionale.

Have your say...
Italy neeed 2 think about the present 2 n build a solid foundation before integrating all the youth. Italy have many young players wi potential but they don't seem 2 have much of a spine or many guarantee's atm. At least Giovinco has some experience n has played well 4 Italy in the past! If not a starter he'd b a good impact sub like he wa against Norway or could allow Mancini to change formation n play a no 10 wi a genuine goal threat! Good competition 4 Insigne n the others!
on the 9th October, 2018 at 2:16pm
I like Giovinco. Thought he could have been a good sub for Conte's Euro 2016 team. Not sure about this current call-up, but hopefully we see a slightly more energetic team than last the last international break.
on the 9th October, 2018 at 2:10pm
What's more concerning is that he's not being picked in last 3 yrs! Italy could've really done wi him n Insigne v Sweden! I remember his last game 4 Italy. They prob wouldn't have beaten Norway without him!
He prob will b 2 old 4 the next WC but why not play him wi the Euro's in mind! Youth n experience. I can't c that many wi his characteristics that play a more central role. Insigne, maybe Verdi? Pellegrini? Bernardeschi? They need chances 2 but Giovinco deserve's a call-up regardless of age!
on the 9th October, 2018 at 1:52pm
This article is ridiculous. The team is in ruin so why not call up a creative player with obvious technical abilities to make up for the lacklustre Insigne and Jorginho? After all Mancini is still trying to figure out how to put together a competitive team. In any case, if you don't do anything new, it's impossible to expect new results.
on the 9th October, 2018 at 1:31pm
Giovinco shouldn't be anywhere near the Italy squad! Verdi deserved a call up as he really can make an impact on games especially as a sub.
on the 9th October, 2018 at 1:18pm
It's terrible. Italy are finished. Any team holding Balotelli as the star man is finished. The fact that star man cant get into the team is even more ridiculous.
The fact that we are now going ti get our players from Canada is even funnier. I mean I wouldnt look at a any scoring record of a player MLS player. It speaks volumes when a player who scored like 1 goal in Serie A goes off to MSL or whatever league his in and scores 30+ goals, imagin Higuain there he'd beat Pele 1000+ goals in 3 season
on the 9th October, 2018 at 12:54pm
Glad that he has returned, he deserves it. Looking at the cry for Balotelli and Belotti they are just not doing it in their leagues. So why not Giovinco, year in and year out making headlines and scoring goals in the MLS. The point is we need results now in order to make the finals of the Nations League at least Giovinco has a point to prove and will give it his all to be recalled. Balotelli is unfit and not even starting in Ligue 1. Players should be called on merit with an eye on the future
on the 9th October, 2018 at 12:51pm
Italy's arrogance will made them miss another tournament. Remember Atalanta's bashing of FC Kopenhagen and now their almost in the relegation, Italy's bashing of Sweden... Italy needs to admit it's hit the bottom, and stop seeing superstars in every player that scores 10 goals. A corrupted country living in the past to proud to admit defeat.
on the 9th October, 2018 at 12:33pm

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