Lorenzo Insigne and the Azzurri, it hasn’t been a very happy marriage the past couple of years. The Napoli playmaker received just his first cap since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil during Italy’s friendly encounter with Spain in March.
Antonio Conte selected the 24-year-old on a couple of occasions during the qualification campaign for Euro 2016, but Insigne was left on the bench during the home encounter with Malta and left the squad with a minor knee injury before games against Azerbaijan and Norway in October.
That sparked a rift between Conte and Insigne, as the diminutive forward played for his club just days later, and Italy’s CT believes players should be proud to wear the Azzurri shirt. However, after a stunning performance against La Roja both men clarified the issue and stated that it was just a misunderstanding.
Fortunately, because Insigne should be one of Conte’s key players during the European Championships in France. His ability as a playmaker gives the Azzurri an added offensive dimension, one that was lacking at the 2014 World Cup.
Insigne has been one of Serie A’s best assists men, showcasing his creative talents in Napoli’s 4-3-3 formation. In a three-man attack, no Italian player can be more dangerous than Insigne. His vision, passing ability, dribbling skills, and speed are crucial if the Azzurri want to have any success in France.
He showed what he’s capable of in just 38 minutes of action against Spain, scoring Italy' s only goal of the game. Insigne was a constant threat, going wide or changing direction to the middle of the pitch. He’s capable of forcing things with just one killer moment, whoever’s playing with him upfront.
Of course, Insigne isn’t a perfect player. While the 24-year-old was amazing against La Roja, he was far from during the loss against Germany just a couple of days later. Insigne does suffer from inconsistency, even in games, being great for 30 minutes and poor the rest of the way. This is something that can’t be allowed to happen in a big tournament.
He’s also less effective in a two-man attack and can’t be deployed as midfield winger, as his defensive power is pretty inexistent. Insigne’s small posture also plays into this, as he’s easily pushed around on the pitch, especially by rugged defenders. However, this has proven to be an upside offensively, as he’s hard to catch and can easily draw fouls.
In the end, it’s easy to see Lorenzo Insigne should be given a call-up for Euro 2016 and start in a three-man Azzurri attack. He should be Italy’s X-factor during the tournament and the one player that could really make the difference on offence.
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