Tuesday October 16 2012
Giovinco needs international rescue

Sebastian Giovinco is yet to prove himself at international level. David Swan takes a closer look at the Juventus forward’s struggles with Italy.

It has not taken long for Sebastian Giovinco to come under fire. He was given a five by La Gazzetta dello Sport for their Pagelle after Italy’s 3-1 win over Armenia – only Leonardo Bonucci was rated lower for the match – and he has received a lot of individual criticism after a below-par team performance in Yerevan on Friday evening.

Cesare Prandelli has already stated he is unlikely to use the Giovinco-Pablo Osvaldo partnership from the start against Denmark, and the ankle injury that forced the former out of the game in Armenia might have given the Coach an ideal opportunity to leave him out.

Everyone had been waiting a long time for Giovinco to arrive at senior international level before he made his debut last year. He was a fixture for the Under-21s, but difficulty breaking through at Juventus delayed his progression. He was talked up, as was his potential impact on what was at the time an uninspiring Marcello Lippi Italy, but it was impossible to call him up without regular playing time.

Parma changed all that by giving him the minutes he required – and Juventus have followed suit now that he has returned this season – which gave Prandelli licence to introduce him to the set-up last year.

Initially there was the impact expected when, along with Alberto Aquilani, he came on against Germany in February and helped change the game in Italy’s favour, and then against Ukraine the following month. But what has followed has been a string of underwhelming performances and a struggle to make a difference.

Due to the long wait for his debut, this is not a young player that has been capped 13 times, but a guy who will turn 26 in January. It has resulted in less room for error – a player with 13 caps would usually be given margin for unimpressive displays, but when you are at Giovinco’s age the margins are much smaller and patience wears thinner more quickly.

Four of those caps have been from the start – against Northern Ireland, USA, Bulgaria and Armenia. There are one or two decent sides there but nothing that should stop him from showcasing his abilities. A player with his obvious talent should be making a difference against teams like this.

The question is how many chances will he get? Prandelli will continue to keep faith with him, and as long as he is playing for a club like Juventus, and importantly in the Champions League, he will rightly stay in contention within the squad – you cannot turn down players operating at that level.

But it is not as if he is playing in a position where Italy are struggling for talent. There are a glut of strikers, including a number of younger second strikers, that are more than capable of pushing Giovinco out. In that respect he is slightly unfortunate – if he was a natural Trequartista you suspect Prandelli’s patience would be unlimited given the dearth of players for that role.

As it is, the huge competition for places up-front means you have to perform when given chances. He does not have the luxury of potential to fall back on – while there is no doubt that at 25 years he can get better, and regular Champions League football will help him, the incentive to invest time and caps in him is not as great as it will be for a Stephan El Shaarawy or Lorenzo Insigne.

His best bet might be to return to his roots – at Under-21 level he spent large amounts of time playing wide, and many of his formative days in the Juventus first-team were spent here too. He has flourished at club level as a second striker and that has now become recognised as his role, but with Prandelli clearly angling for a 4-3-3 and the player himself possessing greater maturity and experience, demonstrating an ability to adapt would give him a lot more room to breathe for Italy.

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Have your say...
Most talented? Still not buying it. Not even close. Hes not even the most talented player under 5'6 Italy have access too. Did you see Insigne goal for the U21 yesterday? With our spot in the Euro on the line he produces a shot Giovinco litterally has been trying to do all season. Giovinco has never done that, on any level. Including the U21. Hes simply not the player his fan wish he was. Hes a moderatly talented player capable of moments of class. Unfortunatly he cant prolong this, never will.
on the 17th October, 2012 at 4:09pm
in the 4-3-1-2 he should be the (1) so he has some space and time on the ball, its that simple, even in a video game if you play a player out of position he is not goin to flourish.
on the 17th October, 2012 at 7:47am
well choosing osvaldo ahead of him didn't turn out so great ..bottom line is BALOTELII IS AWEWSOME!!!!
on the 17th October, 2012 at 7:30am
No Gio No party that simple !!!!!!!
on the 17th October, 2012 at 6:03am
Notice how the only people who even bother defending Giovinco anymore are Juventus fans. He got sent out to Parma, a mid-table provincial club, and admittedly excelled there. But it is a lot easier to prove yourself at that level than at those of international football or the Champions League. His frame has always hindered him and now it is glaringly obvious. Gio belongs at a mid-table club, not the spearhead of the Italian attack.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 11:49pm
Gio is a good player but with all due respect not good enough for the azzury , not problem of height but he is very weak not strong enough with or without the ball , I won't say messi or maradonna , but gio can't even get at the level of zola , he may be one day like miccoli or even di natale but don't expect more
on the 16th October, 2012 at 11:26pm
I hope we see Consigli, Roncaglia, Cassani, Motta, Nocerino, Cassano, Quagliarella and Insigne in the squad for france game. Well done to the under 21s a great win and performance. We made a few mistakes in defense but still a great performance. Insigne, Immobile and Florenzi all scored and are great prospects as is Marrone plus others. Whether that squad is in tact for the euros remains to be seen. If it is we should have a great chance to win the tournament. A good night for both our teams.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 8:56pm
What relief. A good win overall especially playing with ten men for the whole of the second half. What was Osvaldo thinking, pathetic he should be thanking the team for getting him out of jail. Thats why Mario is in the team, a great performance he deserves all the plaudits. For the first 15 minutes where poor at the back. Please call Roncaglia we need him and we need to sort out the defense. Lots of work to be done prandelli but 2 wins and 6 goals is a good return.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 8:51pm
Poor old Gio's problem is that he is simply over rated.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 8:42pm
I said this the other day, but I think everyone is being to harsh with Giovinco... I really like his work ethic and I think he does a lot more on and off the ball than people notice. I think he adds an unpredictable factor to the attack that others in Italy can't provide (Not including Rossi, but he's injured). I'm old enough to remember the days when Del Piero used to get criticized for not being good enough for Italy... The talent is there and I'm sure he'll come through soon enough
on the 16th October, 2012 at 6:46pm
giovinco is too small and weak . go back to parma .
on the 16th October, 2012 at 4:53pm
@DiRocco: Giovinco is certainly not the best Italy has but he is very much the most talented player we currently have in the squad.

@Adam: Osvaldo has more strength & is taller than Giovinco which allows him to force him self into scoring opportunities Giovinco is not an all out attacker & can't be compared to Osvaldo who by the way, talent wise can't get close to Giovinco.

I agree with those who say that Giovinco needs to play out wide or in the same position that Ozil plays for Germany.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 4:05pm
Gio's problem lies in Pirlo's style of dipping ball. Gio needs space to run at opponents to use his dribbling skills and speed while the dipping balls coming from behind need someone bulkier who can receive the ball between two or three defenders. With De Rossi and Marchisio running up I see Gio often trying to find a free spot for himself and thus when he receives the ball he is far away from his ideal position. You cant imagine him to mIake a run thru 5 players everytime he touches the ball
on the 16th October, 2012 at 3:58pm
It's pretty simple, he's being played out of position for club and country. In any other he'd be an attacking midfielder like David Silva or Ribery, not a striker getting long balls hoofed up to him.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 3:21pm
Sebastian Giovinco is okay, Osvaldo tho is very good in my opinion 3 goals in 5 games for italy
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:26pm
Whoever said he's the best we have is completely lost their marbles. Sorry guys, when you're turning 26 the whole potential thing Doesent cut it anymore. Giovinco is weak in the ball, I mean really weak. He gets pushed off like its nothing. He has terrible balance for a small guy. Has he even beat a player on the dribble for Italy without falling over? Seriously, post a video link if he has. The most he's good for us winning free kicks.. Giovinco will not be Italy's savor.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:23pm
I'm not exactly sure what the problem with Giovinco is. But, I know that the only way to make him work is to give him the proper amount of attention. He needs to be the focal point in attack, not just a cog. Every play must go through him (after Pirlo). This is why he succeeded at Parma and on the U21 team.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:19pm
Giovinco is probably the most gifted player we have, the problem is the media expect him to score. He is not a full out goal scorer. Yes he will score a few but its what he creates that makes him dangerous. His ability to run with the ball and his creativity is second to none. He should play behind 2 strikers, mold him in to a trequartista and let him dictate the attack. The problem with Italy is, he does not get the ball enough. We need to change our dependance on PIRLO.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:13pm
Riccardo you are absolutely correct. The problem with Italy at the moment is that they don't have the Totti's, Del Piero's, Malidini's, Carnavaro's, Biaggio's etc...those guys scared their opponents with their world class talent. The guys that Italy have now are good but not great, except for Buffon and maybe Pirlo. Italian soccer has to change it's mentality and start developing creative players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet and don't pannick when they are pressed.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:02pm
I agree with you Onofrio. Too small to be a striker, he needs either move wide or drop back as an attaching midfielder to be effective. No one is questioning Giovinco skills, but he is more of a playmaker who can goal,then an all out goal scorer.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 2:01pm
I see him more as a wide forward. He would fare much better, out on the left, cutting in on his right foot. He would find more space there. I would never play him in the hole, because he lacks composure, and I don't think that his passing is consistently good enough. For now though I would drop him, as I feel that SES & Insigne both seem to have more hunger, and are more busy, (in addition to being just as skillful).
on the 16th October, 2012 at 12:56pm
G.Rossi is injured and may never be the same again. Balotetlli we cannot depend on.
Osvaldo is not a great talent.
Quagliarella has not played for a while.
Di Nataele is too old.
Cassano is world class, but we cannot depend on him either.
Destro, only potential.
El Sharraway, only potential.
Giovinco, deserves more time. He works hard and is serious and can flourish.

None of the above are Totti, Del Piero, Baggio, Vieri level. Giovinco is the best professional we have. he is also very talented.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 12:53pm
Giovinco is made to play behind strikers or as a winger...his assist are just as good as Ozzil. But of course if you play in italy ure mo good unless u score ..doesn't matter if u play bad as long as u score 1 goal they'll make him star...well giovinco is the best gor ne i just wish he ha gone somewhere where he will be appreciated
on the 16th October, 2012 at 11:31am

let's not kid ourselves. I'm a Juve fan, but Seba hasn't really developed yet. He's a talent, a real talent, but he needs to step up and push himself to another level in both Juve and Azzurri.

The way I see it, He never developed since the first stint at Juve, except in Parma he was used as a reference-point striker by Donadoni, that's why he was scoring. The 'almost' only Parma striker who was scoring.

I'd to see Quaglia more at Juve and Azzurri.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 11:12am
Onofrio you're spot on. Everyone (including him a bit I think) has got it into his head that he's a striker, and while he can score goals he's best running at men and linking play.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 11:00am
I've no doubt of his ability, but lets face it, the guy is not an out & out striker.

I know he was successful in front of goal when playing for Parma but his characteristics are best suited as a wide forward, winger or even a trequartista if we continue with the 4-3-1-2.

It's no good playing the ball to his feet with his back to goal being man marked by CB's. He needs the ball where he has time to turn quickly and run at defenders and linking with the strikers as he does have vision to create.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 9:58am
He not up to scratch as I keep saying as do most people. Balotelli, Osvaldo, Rossi, Quagliarella, Di Natale, Cassano, Destro, El Shaarawy, Insigne in my view are all ahead of Giovinco. He just isnt international class. The sooner he stops getting picked the better.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 9:27am

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