Thursday November 19 2020
Lorenzo il magnifico

After another majestic display against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Richard Hall argues Italy have found its star player in Lorenzo Insigne.

It was a night when the Italians put on another show, it was a night when the mentality and performance levels were at the top level and it was a night for Lorenzo Insigne. Italy strolled past Bosnia-Herzegovina, they finished top of the table and go through to the final four. This night saw majestic displays from many of the team, all of them fighting for one cause. The celebrations at the end saw them dancing whilst video calling Roberto Mancini who is still self-isolating. The team seems to have everything right now, including its star man.

There was a moment when Nicolo Barella sprayed a diagonal ball fully 40 yards with pace. He had seen the run from Insigne and picked him out as if dispatching a bullet from a snipers rifle. As Insigne intelligently ran in behind the defence there was still much to do and yet, he managed to cushion the ball down with the outside of his foot. It was a moment when you knew the players were playing with such confidence, that everything will come off.

Insigne was in this mood all game; he mischievously rolled a ball to Domenico Berardi from a free kick so the winger could try to strike the ball with his left foot. It was an audacious plan and it did not work out, but the way that Lorenzo has been playing for Italy has seen him play with a courage you rarely see in the modern game. The Neapolitan assisted Andrea Belotti with a delicate cross and throughout the game; he was running at defenders with pace and creativity.

After the game he spoke with humility, he was clearly the man of the match. He had not scored but after an amazing first touch, he hit the post. “The coach wants us to play our football wherever we go and that is the mentality we’ve really embraced. This is a jersey to be honoured every time and we give our all for Italy.” This was evident in his game as you could see that, he believed in his coach’s words and seemed to be enjoying himself.

He went on to speak about not having the best rapport with some Napoli fans and the media but the way he spoke was as if this was all behind him and he could now play with a renewed confidence. He was also very appreciative of Gennaro Gattuso and the support he had from him, saying he was improving him physically and tactically. That is high praise for a player who has played under the likes of Maurizio Sarri, Zdenek Zeman, Rafael Benitez, Walter Mazzarri and Carlo Ancelotti

The boy who was once deemed too small to play football certainly seems to have been working on his physique. This season he has scored twice in four excellent Serie A games for Napoli and created three assists in four games for his country. Perhaps the reason for all of this is because he is happy. Sarri once said of Insigne when asked why he was playing well: “It’s simple, he believes in himself. He has shrugged off the insecurities and blues that can come from being the main man for his home town club”. This makes sense, especially when you look at his words after the game. He talks of not being worried about fans and media and the results are showing.

The levels that he is playing at should encourage fans and coaches alike to go out of the way to make sure he is care free and playing as if at school. He is 29-years of age now and potentially at the peak of his career. Napoli and Italy can look at him to help them possibly win some much-coveted silverware and in the process, he will entertain.

The world in an imperfect place and Lorenzo’s performances may make the expectant and passionate Neapolitans expect even more from him but let us hope this is not the case. Watching him in this recent International break and in Serie A so far, has allowed everyone to enjoy just what a special talent he is. He is playing some of the best football of his career, proving that there is another little guy lighting up Naples and Italy.


Words Richard Hall


Have your say...
I agree Kean should be a last resort for Italy, what I've seen of Grifo is far superior.
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 7:15pm
@token bubble

I hear you but I strongly disagree Moise is clumsy and he has no where near the brain Grifo has
Not bringing Grifo
Together with the constant picking of Moise is ...would be a huge mistake by Mancini
Also....scoring for PSG means only matters against quality..your example is a poor one.
Moise is quite simply not good enough for Italy.
I would have him as far away from the team as possible.
Good players do not struggle at Everton.
Average ones do....
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 1:59pm

I like Grifo a lot, but he's a wide forward and like it or not, there are others ahead of him in that position to make the 23 man squad.

Kean is a striker, and he would keep Immobile and Belotti on their toes. You speak of his failure at Everton,but 3 goals in 5 games for PSG suggests he's not washed up yet lol.
on the 21st November, 2020 at 10:46pm
Exciting times ahead for this Italian team and the fact that we don't have a 6 goal a tournament striker is not a big worry. Did we not will the 2006 world cup with Matterazzi top scorer with Luca Toni on 2 each :-)
on the 20th November, 2020 at 9:26pm
The way Lorenzo accepted the pass was breathtaking and the best of 3 touches in an excellent move of flick, pass the control. He has grown into one of the auzzuri main men and along with a few others are beginning to place their names into a settled line up baring injuries. Barella also looks in a different class and Florenzi looks comfortable in right back. Exciting times ahead with this team and many options.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 9:24pm
@Juve fan and token bubble
Moise Kean??
We’re you watching the recent games??
You both picked a squad with useless Kean?. And no Grifo??
Did you see what he did??
Boys boys forget keann!!
Good players do not fail at Everton!!
Grifo not Kean / do you want to win or lose??!
My god guys!,,
on the 20th November, 2020 at 8:31pm
I am confident italy will shift gears for the bigger teams and since bigger teams do not park the bus in defense will give them more scoring prowess. Zaniolo and verratti return will improve italy much and with the big teams it will come down to the midfield. I like acerbi rather then bonucci and politano, petagna & scammacca should be used in friendlies to gauge their level.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 8:13pm
I think the most surprising fact is how good has Locatelli performed. Locatelli was behind Sensi, Pellegrini etc in the pecking order but now established himself as a perfect replacement of Verratti. This Italy team is almost complete except for one right back and one center forward position. Since Florenzi has an injury issue, I would play de Lorenzo more to prepare him for Euro. And, upfront Zaniolo as a false nine.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 6:11pm
He is a man on form. Some of his touches, link up play & movement was sublime. He can do so much by doing very little. Commanded his space. Some of the defenders didn't want to go near him. He cuts in a lot but he's Italy's best winger because he can mix it up, has the skill and confidence to take players on even on the outside. That Italy move where he touched it past the defender & struck the post was 10/10 & deserved to be a goal. Effective & with a real swagger at times. Star man indeed.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 5:49pm
Italy are playing great & exciting football,the only thing that concerns me now is their wayward off target shooting when we do get in range we are poor,
Example against Poland and Bosnia Italy had 36 shots with only 8 on target-25% which is not good, when they do get shots on target the chances of scoring shoots up to 50% ,
more care & quality upfront is needed and less headless chicken attacks, which will definetly be needed against the top teams.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 3:54pm
@JUVE FAN, slight tweak on your squad. One RB as others can cover if need be. Immobile included for me, as he's obv got goals in him and he's due a performance for Italy sooner or later.


GK'S (3) Donnarumma Sirigu Meret

CB'S (4) Romagnoli Bastoni Acerbi Bonucci Chiellini (C)

RB'S (1) Florenzi

LB'S (2) Emerson Spinazzola (both can play RB too)

CM'S (6) Verratti Barella Jorginho Pellegrini Locatelli

WF (4) Insigne Zaniolo Chiesa Berardi

CF (2) Immobile Belotti Kean
on the 20th November, 2020 at 10:39am
Despite playing well and looking the part, you still have got to prove it against the big boys and in the big tournaments. Until the jury's out on all the players apart from Chiellini and Bonucci who've seen it, done and bought the Baggio T- Shirt.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 9:42am
Di Lorenzo is better than Calabria
While I can't imagine situation when Immobile will not be called up though I agree Belotti is much better for the team
At the meantime I believe UEFA will allow to call up at least 27 players maybe even more because of this situation with COVID.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 4:17am
Italy should opt for petagna, scamacca or caputo. Forget kea, petagna or scamacca are similar to contes graziano pelle who was successful in euro 2016. Caputo is a sly striker who is accurate with strikes. Berna can be effective he needs to leave juve and get playing time. Politano in lieu of chiesa great outside shooter. I agree plenty to choose from it down to getting chemistry correct.
on the 20th November, 2020 at 1:42am

GK'S (3) Donnarumma Sirgu Gollini

CB'S (4) Romagnoli Bastoni Acerbi Bonucci

RB'S (2) Florenzi Calabria

LB'S (2) Emerson Spinazzola

CM'S (6) Verratti Barella Jorginho Pellegrini Castrovilli Locatelli

WF (4) Insigne Zaniolo Chiesa Berardi

CF (2) Kean Belotti


Chiellini - Injury prone
Mancini - behind 5 CB's
Di Lorenzo - vs Calabria
Tonali - unless he plays more
Sensi - surpassed
Bernardeschi - Berardi better
Immobile - Belotti better
Pellegri - Injuries + to soon
on the 19th November, 2020 at 10:15pm
Finally Insigne, it's great that he is fulfilling his potential and becoming a player that flourishes as an International. Three great results without Verratti, Zaniolo, Chiesa, Kean, then the likes of Pellegri and Castrovilli (who could be a ace in the pack). Centre backs should be Bastoni Romagnoli Acerbi + 1 of Bonucci and Chiellini but not both. Barella is incredible. We are in great shape, hugely talented squad - Mancini has a selection headache. An exciting time to be an Azzurri fan.
on the 19th November, 2020 at 9:59pm
This italy team in my opinion can go all the way. Playing the bigger teams will actually and possibly force them to excel which these young players can succeed. Excited for these prospects and explosion of talent and the U21 is not far behind. ITALY NEED TO REINVEST IN ITS YOUTH AND IT SYSTEM OF BRINGING THESE PLAYERS TO SURFACE. Not sure what it will take. Get the corrupt offcials out of the FIGC.
on the 19th November, 2020 at 8:04pm
Great article, more journalist should follow your vision rather then praise foreigners that never really amount to anything. The majority of the journalist that i have read article or headlines of should truly not be called journalist and should be ashamed of themselves, they truly are a disgrace to Italy. Possibly one of the most underrated italian talents.
on the 19th November, 2020 at 8:02pm
What can be said about Insigne that hasn’t been said already throughout these ten days of international break? He has played amazingly and we need him at this level all the time. It is great for his confidence and great that he is justly recognized for his outstanding performances.
on the 19th November, 2020 at 7:51pm
Agreed. He was playing with the panache of a truly world class player and had the quality to go with it. A real joy to see Insigne playing at this level. Such a shame that shot hit the post.
on the 19th November, 2020 at 4:02pm

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