Italy were not the only high profile failures of the 2018 World Cup cycle — Germany, USA, even Spain come to mind — but they were perhaps the biggest. After failing to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1958, and dropping to their lowest ever FIFA ranking at No.21, the four-time winners appointed former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and set about rebuilding the team.
But while Mancini has certainly not shied away from calling up the youth — Moise Kean (19), Nicolò Zaniolo (19), and Nicolò Barella (22) now have 8 caps between themselves after last night’s 2-0 win over Finland — he also knows that a veteran core can be a useful feature in any team. Part of that veteran core for Mancini is Chelsea’s somewhat maligned midfielder, Jorginho, 27, who will be relied on to help shepherd the rest of the herd.
“I’ve picked many young players that can have a future with the national team. Of course, we also need expert footballers who can guide the youths. Players like Bonucci, Chiellini, Jorginho and Verratti can really help them.”
Jorginho was deployed alongside Verratti and Barella last night, and it was the youngster who got the Azzurri started on the right foot with a long-range effort inside of ten minutes.
The 22-year-old, who was briefly linked with Chelsea in January before the transfer ban was handed down by FIFA, is happy to be learning from those two midfield experts and becoming a more well-rounded midfielder than either one of them alone.
“When I play against Jorginho, I realise that he sees thirty seconds before the play; at Verratti you can’t take it off his feet.”
Jorginho may not have gotten the best reviews for last night’s performance (certainly not when compared with Verratti or Barella), but it does bode well for his future Chelsea prospects that another coach, not just Maurizio Sarri considers him a vital cog in the machinery.
“The first year in the Premier League is always difficult, we hope the next season can be better.
“We need to raise the level of the game and also Jorginho wants to do it, we just have to wait for the right tactical and technical solution. When you’re dealing with a new style of play, you need time to do things the best way possible. We only have to wait for the future, because English football is certainly very beautiful.”
-Joao Santos, Jorginho’s agent; source: CN24 via Metro