Should Giovinco be called up to Italy and what could he do to receive a call?
There is major debate as to whether Sebastian Giovinco deserves a call up to the Italian squad. Here we will look at whether he deserves to be called up, and what can he do to receive a call up.
If you have been following the MLS, you know that there is one name that comes to mind when you think of the best player in the league: Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco left Juventus for Toronto FC in January of 2015 after he found playing time hard to come by under Max Allegri. Since then, his MLS career has been a huge success. Giovinco is one of the few, and maybe only, European player to come to the MLS in the prime of their career, and the results have proved that he is indeed in his prime. The Italian is constantly in the running for the MLS MVP trophy and he has his team in the Eastern Conference Finals and perhaps peaking at the right time.
Giovinco was in line to be the next great Juventus playmaker, following the footsteps of Alessandro Del Piero. While he showed flashes of brilliance, he never really took his ability to the next level for the bianconeri, and he was loaned out a few seasons to Empoli and Parma. He returned to Juventus with Antonio Conte in charge in 2012 and received significant playing time in his first two seasons back at the club, however, as the club grew and Conte was replaced by Allegri, Giovinco found playing time much rarer in 2014-15.
This is where he made an interesting decision. Instead of going to a smaller club in Italy or in another European league, Giovinco was attracted to Toronto FC and the MLS. It is a decision that really worked out on a club level, as Giovinco has been great for Toronto and the team has had success with him leading the charge.
Where the decision has hurt Giovinco is with the Italian national squad. When he first moved to MLS, Antonio Conte was the manager of the azzurri, and he was being called up to the team and playing a part. When it came down to it though, Conte refused to call up Giovinco or Andrea Pirlo for the 2016 European Championship, and he has been left out ever since despite his form in the MLS.
Does Giovinco deserve a call up under Gian Piero Ventura?
To decide whether Giovinco should be called up or not, we would have to determine the level of the MLS. Is the MLS on the same level as the Italian league where most of the national team players play? The answer is obviously no, not yet. So then you must take into account the players in the Italy squad that play similar positions to Giovinco, and decide if he deserves a call up over them. I would look at mostly wingers and playmakers, as Giovinco is not a typical striker.
The players who have been called up for the playoff against Sweden in his position are Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi, Antonio Candreva and Stephen El Shaarawy. There is no obvious person from this group that deserves to be left out in favor of Giovinco. Insigne plays for the first place team in Italy and played very well against Manchester City over two legs, Candreva has done really well for Inter as of late and they are in 3rd place in Serie A. He also did well for Conte in the 2016 European Championship. Stephen El Shaarawy is in excellent form and just scored a brace against Chelsea in the Champions League. Lastly, Bernardeschi maybe hasn't been off to a great start at Juventus but he has still shown flashes of brilliance and he plays for the best team in Italy and a top European contender, so how could you leave him out in favor of a player who is featured in a league of less quality?
Although there is much criticism of Ventura, and maybe most of it deserved, you can't fault him for leaving Giovinco out and calling up these players instead. People may refer to David Villa and his recent call up to Spain, however, it is a different set of circumstances. Villa has dominated at the very top level with Valencia, Barcelona and Spain. Giovinco has never proven to be one of the top players at Juventus or for Italy, so Villa is getting called up
because he was a top player and has now regained his form, while Giovinco has never proven himself at the very top.
What could Giovinco do to get called up?
The answer to me is obvious, Giovinco could get a loan to an Italian club in January and play the first six months of 2017 in Serie A. We have seen this done before with players like David Beckham and others, and it would be a great way for Giovinco to try and earn a call up. If he maintains his MLS form in Serie A for five months, there is no way Ventura can leave him off the list. In January there will be many Serie A clubs looking for reinforcements, and surely one of them would take a gamble on Giovinco. The issue might be his wages as he is reported to make about $5.6 million per season, and if you divide that by half the season it's $2.8 million. A smaller club will have trouble committing that much money for half a season, and it would be tough for him to find space at one of the big clubs, but these things have been worked out before. Italy is not the only option either as if he were to go to England of Spain or another top European league and play well, he will surely earn a call up. This move would at least place him on the radar.
Giovinco has brought a ton of joy to Toronto FC and MLS fans, and it would be nice to see him get looked at for a possible call up to the national squad. The only way it seems like that would happen for him, is by making a move to Europe for a loan in January. If he is able to star in a top European league, Ventura will surely give him an opportunity.