Giampiero Ventura’s tenure as Italian national team coach came to an inevitable conclusion after an endless list of baffling decisions culminated in the Azzurri failing to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Perhaps one of the most curious of all was his decision to leave Lorenzo Insigne sat on the bench during the second leg of their play-off encounter with Sweden, with his side absolutely desperate to score a goal.
As if anyone needed reminding of why the former Torino gaffer’s decision was met with worldwide incredulity, Insigne once again showed his sublime quality against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this midweek. The second he arrowed his shot into the top corner, many thousands of angry Italy fans looked on in sheer bewilderment as to why Ventura had overlooked the supremely-talented 26-year-old Frattamaggiore native.
Regardless of who the next Azzurri coach is – whether it be Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, Massimiliano Allegri or someone who hasn’t been mentioned yet – they must look to maximise Insigne’s potential to pose a constant threat to opposition backlines.
Tactically, the Neapolitan offers several different options depending on whether the new CT favours width or a narrow system. Of course, under Partenopei boss Maurizio Sarri, he has excelled in a wide left position in a 4-3-3 formation, joined in attack by José Callejón and Dries Mertens. He performed well in Rafael Benítez’s trademark 4-2-3-1 too.
He has also featured in a more central role within Walter Mazzarri’s 3-5-2 system, where he was asked to link up with Edinson Cavani – a classic little and large strike partnership if ever there was one. Should Ventura’s replacement opt for a 3-5-2, or indeed 4-3-1-2, then Insigne may line up alongside one of Andrea Belotti, Ciro Immobile or Simone Zaza.
One thing is for sure; whoever the next FIGC president decides to appoint must recognise the fact he has a truly outstanding talent at his disposal in Insigne. He must find a way to get the very best out of him in whichever system he deploys.
Dare I say it, one of the most effective ways to help him shine in an Azzurri shirt could be to ensure a certain club teammate of his is trusted to dictate play in midfield. Hint; his full name is Jorge Luiz Frello Filho and he could just as easily have been lining up for Brazil next summer in Russia.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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