We're quickly barreling towards the start of the European Championship this summer, with Italy set to head to France to try to undo the disappointment of their World Cup failure two years ago. That means that spots in the squad are up for grabs, but Napoli fans hoping to see familiar faces in the team might not want to get their hopes up too high.
While Lorenzo Insigne has played lights-out football this season, to the tune of 11 goals and a Serie A leading 10 assists thus far, his standing in the Italy squad looks much rockier. He was held out of the national team by Napoli earlier this season with a minor injury they didn't want to see get aggravated, and that decision apparently blew back on Insigne. His star has reportedly fallen in Antonio Conte's eyes since then despite his performances improving, and in a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport looking at the probably Italy squad and using various reports and contacts to assemble a likely team, it sure looks like Insigne is on the outside looking in.
The presence of Graziano Pelle and Eder as the near-locks makes sense, and of the other "uncertain" players, Conte is almost certain to take one of Ciro Immobile or Simone Zaza, plus one of Sebastian Giovinco or Domenico Berardi. That leaves Insigne fighting with the two guys who lost out for one last spot up front, and really, do you expect Conte to go with Insigne over two guys with Juventus ties from his tenure?
Even if Insigne does go, it sure doesn't seem like he'll be high up the depth chart, similar to how he was barely used at the World Cup. It's a shame, because he has the skill, ability, and will likely have the form to have a big impact for Italy, but it sure doesn't look as though he'll be utilized in a way that will allow him to -- assuming he's utilized at all.
La Gazzetta also lists Manolo Gabbiadini as a possibility for the squad, but that seems like a longshot at this point. He's hardly playing of late, and when he is on the pitch his performances have been so underwhelming that there's no reason to think he'll even be in consideration by April when Conte is really winnowing down his squad list.
More disappointing is that Jorginho is nowhere to be seen, despite being eligible to be called up by Italy and Conte's willingness to lean on naturalized players. His skills in midfield in the possession game mesh perfectly with what Conte does tactically, and is a potential point of need for Italy in the here and now. Instead Daniele de Rossi and Riccardo Montolivo are being considered for placed in a midfield in desperate need for youth and work rate, something neither player can provide any more. Stellar.