Monday May 23 2016
Euro 2016 Squad Selector: Zaza

He may not be glamorous, but Italy can’t afford to leave out Simone Zaza, as Gaby McKay explains.

Italy have players of subtlety. There are times when a lock has to be picked, a code must be cracked. The likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi are perfect for that. However, as Monty Python taught us, there are also occasions when the only solution is to load a cow onto a catapult and fire it at your enemies - and that is why Simone Zaza must go to Euro 2016.

Though not a regular for Juventus this season - making just four Serie A starts between September and May - the former Sassuolo man played the role of super-sub, scoring five times. He may not be subtle, but he’s effective.

Witness his performance in the Coppa Italia tie with Torino back in December. Zaza played with such ferocity that it was tempting to conclude that Coach Max Allegri keeps him locked in a cage at Juventus Stadium, occasionally rattling the bars with a stick and blowing a whistle only the striker can hear.

The 24-year-old could have been sent off at least three times. In the opening stages, he scythed down Bruno Peres, before clattering into Daniele Padelli in the Granata goal. Later he roughly showed Kamil Glik into the advertising hoardings. Yet the Bianconeri won 4-0, and Zaza scored twice.

Zaza was given just 32 minutes in what was arguably the deciding match in the Scudetto race when Napoli visited Turin in February, but still found time to score the winner. Indeed he scored against Palermo, Sevilla and Verona despite playing just six, 10 and 11 minutes in those respective matches.

Simone Zaza doesn’t do subtlety. He has no time for flicks and tricks. He simply gets the ball onto his left-foot and smashes it as hard as he can. A volley against Cagliari in 2014 - BANG. His opener in the aforementioned Derby della Mole - SMASH. A shot on the turn to open the scoring against Inter last season - POW.

Every Azzurri fan wants to see Conte’s men play with flair and style this summer. But there may be occasions when teams sit deep. When they frustrate. When a bull must be introduced to the China shop.

Powerful, hard-working, good in the air - Italy do not have another striker with Simone Zaza’s qualities. He has proved this season that he has an uncanny ability to make an impact - often literally - after coming off the bench. The Azzurri can’t afford to be without him this summer.

So, to paraphrase a rude French knight: Antonio Conte, fetchez la vache!

Check out the rest of our Squad Selector blogs and have your say by clicking here.

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Have your say...
I mean an advantage in COnte's eyes...
on the 25th May, 2016 at 10:54am
Plays for Juve which is obviously an advantage but if you look at who makes an impact when called upoin form the bench, him or Gabbiadini - I feel sorry for the lack of time Gabbiadini got but maybe the stats show Zaza does more? Apart from Giovinco, who else?
on the 25th May, 2016 at 10:54am
I can't believe Conte... we're playing Scotland because they're like Ireland - Gaelic! We're playing Finland because they're like Sweden - Scandinavian! Conte or FIGC are absolute fools.
Though Forza Azzurri upto the players now to make this man look good.
on the 25th May, 2016 at 10:13am
Montolivo isn't even good enough for our joke of a Milan team but yet gets called up for Italy, I honestly just can't understand what goes through Conte's head. We got to the final of Euro 2012 from some magic from a gamble (playing around Balotelli) but I'm sorry but at-least 7 of those players will make no difference at all.
on the 24th May, 2016 at 5:26pm
Zaza is not the brightest attacker, however, he should be given a chance, he has high work rate it may prove to be useful in the competition. besides this isn't 90s or 00s Italy, lets face it lads. Changing this name with that won't create wonders. Concentration on the League will help strengthening the national team in the long run. and yeah. those juve/inter conspiracy theories isn't helping the league much now is it?
on the 24th May, 2016 at 1:45pm
The most disturbing about this is that no-one ever wins anything without the courage to take some risks! Paolo Rossi was a risk, Schilacci was a risk. Ranieri put fatih in key position youth, Mahrez etc. Conte talks up all this stuff about unity and the like - yet, he shows no courage or strength himself! Conte - go on, risk it - you're leaving anyway, your contract at CFC won't change if you take a couple of 'unknowns' to a tournament!!! Have some courage for the sake of the italy calcio! SHAME!
on the 24th May, 2016 at 1:28pm
Buffon (Donna)
Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci, Florenzi
Candreva, Jorginho, Benassi, Bonaventura
Berardi, Giovinco
on the 24th May, 2016 at 11:34am
The current midfielders and attackers would serve as subs if they were playing alongside Italy of the 90s or early years of 2000. Current Italy team lacks in every area, I only wished to have just one key player in every line (except in deference where i think they are not bad). With no player with qualities of Donadoni, Albertini, Pirlo, and now (Verati) how can they create a single goal chance? To make it even worse, who would net that "rare" goal chance? Zaza? Immo? Eder?
on the 24th May, 2016 at 11:19am
@ down your throats....a new name because you know that Italy are going to be an embarrassment to football in France.
on the 24th May, 2016 at 10:22am
everyone would like to see conte's side play with flair this summer? Is this a Miss Universe candidate being interviewed? We would like to see world peace and an end to world hunger too, but all are highly unlikely.
on the 24th May, 2016 at 10:17am
My 23 would have been:

BUFFON - donnarumma - sportiello
zappacosta - barzagli - romagnoli
de rossi - motta
berardi - saponara - bonaventura

Not ideal (especially Zappacosta, Motta, Zaza), but at least that 4-pronged attack might worry a few teams along the way.

Instead we'll be left with a workmanlike team hoping to win rather than forcing the win.
on the 24th May, 2016 at 10:13am
Little disappointed Berardi,Giovinco n Baselli are not in there but at least Insigne, Bernardeschi, Rugani n Benassi have been given a chance although the last two will probably be cut. Looking at the forward line I don't care how mentally impaired Balotelli may seem he's at least done it at international level. Bar Pelle, have any of them other forwards ever even scored for Italy? Immobile?! So, he's more experienced than Berardi but him n younger player's should've been integrated by now.
on the 24th May, 2016 at 6:11am
I take Gabbiadini instead of Poor zaza...
conte is surely clueless..he already prepared his disposal that is quit emparassing a good ciach always prepare his plans based on good availiable conte preoared his plans and leave bst players availiable eg: insigne,pavoletti,berardi...
on the 24th May, 2016 at 4:45am
I stopped reading after the first paragraph, but I complteley agree. Let's launch Zaza out of a catapult at our opponents!
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 11:52pm
I like zaza his only mistake was being born Italian. Anyone who mentions borini knows nothing about football.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 11:45pm
Conte - shameful. If we got out in the first round then Italians in the UK will let you know how shameful you've been when you're on the bench at Chelsea. I thought we'd turned a corner when we appointed him - young, hungry and actually he's short on tactics and no idea.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 10:30pm
agree with comments. Conte what are you thinking? Let's hope against Scotland that it all comes together.. I would've liked to see beradi there or even finding a place for Pavoletti an unknown quantity. Just look at what England have done pretty much removed the old guard - defence work-in-progress but the have attacking intent and inform players. What did conte do keep the same old faces and players that have not been first choice or even in form.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 10:25pm
It is scary when a writer actually suggests that Zaza should be on this team

Zaza is the type of player that should not be on this team

I was hoping for an article about players who actually have skills and can make a difference like Giovinco and G. Rossi...not scrubs like zaza
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 9:21pm
My 23 would have been if all fit: Buffon, Sportiello and Donnarumma
Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci, Rugani, Darmian, De Sciglio, Tonelli
Candreva, Verratti, Marchisio, Jorginho, De Rossi, Florenzi, El Sha
Insigne, Pavoletti, Pelle, Rossi, Lapadula, Giovinco or Borini

No Motta or Monty, no Zaza, Immobile or Eder.

Lapadula is worth a go, he may be in Serie B but he unlike the other selected strikers is scoring goals and is plain with confidence as is Pavoletti and Giovinco all be it in America
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 8:49pm
I agree the training camp was a publicity stunt. I foolishly thougt that after 2 years of fielding the same crap players that finally Conte has seen the light. I should have known better. I like Ventura and at Torino he has played young italain players and shown a real passion for this. Hopefully if he does take over he will bring this to the national team. I pray that after e euros we at long last wake up and get rid of all the dead wood and invest in youth much like Hodgson has with England.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 8:38pm
Why did conte even bother with that 3 day training camp ? It was a publicity stunt at best, those poor young players could have started their summer holidays now ! Disgrace and disrespectful to these players. If Italian coaches only want to win leagues then maybe it's time for a foreign coach. I'd take Hodgson over C£NTE !
Put your money on 3 straight losses. I am, though it breaks my heart to do so. I travelled from Australia to 98,00,2002 tournaments - I love la squadra but dream is over
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 8:20pm
Gotta agree with everything said. This reminds me of 2010 when stubborn Lippi refused to select in form players like Cassano and Miccoli and stuck with players that got him through the qualifying round. Well we all know what happened we could not even beat New Zealand. This is gonna be brutal.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 7:46pm
What will these interistas/romaniatas/napolitan/pagliacci say when Conte lifts the trophy next month? I understand the hate though. Conte rammed it down your throats for 3 straight years until you couldn't handle it anymore.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 7:18pm
Sam de martino
I agree with pretty much all your comments until you include Balotelli into you choices above Zaza. Should we reward failure? For a striker to score 5 goals in 2 seasons there is no place for this in any team. There are defenders who have scored more. Conte is nuts i agree but the only good thing he has done is keep Balo away. Just wish he would reward those who actually sweat week in and out!
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 6:51pm
Many people seem to disagree with Conte, but keep in mind he's picked players that have at least a little experience in big games. Pavoletti could arguably be there, but his biggest game this season was the Genoa derby. I also really like Berardi, but again, not much experience playing big important games yet. And guys lets be real, Balotelli is a nutcase and couldn't even break into a poor Milan team. Lapadula has only played in Serie B. Rossi is always injured. Give the team a chance.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 6:48pm
I praise conte for 1 thing and one thing only. Leaving Balotelli out of his italy. But for everything else he is simply not good enough to manage italy. I agree we have a real lack of quality but leaving Giovinco and beradi out is simply inexcusable! Prep for an early exit. Italy will lose to Belgium and Sweden and probably draw blanks with ireland!
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 6:47pm
I agree on Sirigu. He was never much good and hasn't played all season. Conte is a real pain in the backside. Italy will do a lot of runnig and really struggle to break teams down. Perfect for Chelsea. A question for the better informed than me: would Ventura play the youngsters? I'm not sure of his take on youth, or the old timers for that matter.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 6:47pm
Harry Kane has I think scored or nearly scored more goals than all our forwards put together. Incredible. I feel for Pavoletti he score 14 in 22 games and doesn't get selected yet Eder who has scored one goal for Inter in months gets called up and Zaza who hardly ever plays gets called up. Also Sirigu, hardly played all season and is still 2nd choice goalkeeper, its incredible. How can Conte be so deluded? We are light years behind european best.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 4:30pm
I am disgusted with conte squad selections. The squad is a joke. Sportiello or Donnaruma should be there instead of Marchetti. Motta and Monty are rubbish. The strikers aren't even average. Surely Pavoletti, Balotelli, Rossi, Lapadula even Giovinco or Borini would have been better than Eder, Immobile, Zaza. Conte is clueless. This will be the first tournament since 94 I won't be watching. Conte is scared to change anything, and we will pay dearly come June. Shame on you Conte. Sack him now
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 4:24pm
Why should Immobile get a spot? He's done nothing in the last two years. The same could be said of Zaza. Berardi might pick up too many cards, but if this has anything to do with merit he'd be there, at least on the bench. Cassano was right, Conte wants little tow-the-line soldiers and couldn't give a monkey's about talent or skill.
on the 23rd May, 2016 at 4:13pm

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