Much to the desire of many, Jorginho has been selected to play for Italy, but the decision to select him from the outside looking in seems to be one of desperation from Azzurri coach Giampiero Ventura.
Although the 25-year-old Napoli midfielder was born and raised in Brazil, he has had the desire to play for the Italian national team despite only collecting two caps in friendlies under previous Azzurri coach Antonio Conte.
On Saturday, Ventura included Jorginho in his squad for the World Cup play-offs against Sweden on Saturday November 10 and Monday November 13 but such an inclusion looked improbable back in August.
The Napoli playmaker revealed his disappointment in his constant omission by the Azzurri coach telling La Gazzetta dello Sport “I do not agree or even understand his choices.”
In September Ventura replied by saying that the Brazilian-born footballer did not suit his preferred formation and his role would have been different to what he is used to at the Partenopei.
“Jorginho plays a role that in the 4-2-4 is not ideal so I do not call him,” the Italy tactician said.
This left the door open for Brazil to pick him and Selecao coach Tite admitted to showing interest in the midfielder due to his eligibility and the general coordinator for Brazil Edu Gaspar talked to the Napoli playmaker about representing his nation his birth.
“I spoke personally with Jorginho and explained the programs of our coach. Then I left him free to decide,” Gaspar said. On October 20, Tite selected his squad for friendlies against Japan and England but the Partenopei star did not make the cut.
In recent months the Azzurri have endured a serious decline in performances and none was scrutinised more than the 3-0 defeat away to Spain on September 2. Ventura’s preference for the 4-2-4 received scathing criticism and there were calls in the Italian media for him to ditch the formation for good.
Recent reports in the Italian press have suggested that the 69-year-old will not use the 4-2-4 formation against the Swedes, which should be to the benefit of Jorginho if he does play.
It was going to be tough for Italy to qualify ahead of Spain in their World Cup qualifying group but the Azzurri have played insipid football in the last two months and Ventura has had issues with his midfield that need rectifying.
The Italy tactician still relies on veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi to dictate play and provide leadership but the likes of Roberto Gagliardini and Marco Parolo do not provide enough creativity in midfield while Marco Verratti has not lived up to expectations.
Jorginho is an integral part of the Napoli midfield and he has benefitted from the coaching Maurizio Sarri so he is a player who deserves to play international football and being chosen for Italy now means that he can be tied to the Italian national team for good.
Ventura choosing him now instead of earlier suggests that he was wrong to ignore the 25-year-old for as long as he did and it is an admission that his implementation of the 4-2-4 was a massive failure.
Although selecting the oriundo is a merited one, it also shows that the current Azzurri coach is short on ideas before a crucial World Cup qualifier.