Lorenzo Insigne found the back of the net and earned his side all three points against Fiorentina on Saturday, but where was this form Italy?
“Wow, where has this Insigne been?” I remarked when he scored a beauty against the Viola. He latched onto a through-ball and beat the keeper to his far post in a silky smooth play. Prior to this, Insigne had caused Dragowski a whole host of problems and forced the Pole into making a slew of saves or near misses.
Wonderful touch and shot from Insigne. His second goal of the campaign. pic.twitter.com/q2XEESMJca
— Alex Mascitti | IFD (@ItalianFD) September 15, 2018
But what gives? Where is this Lorenzo Insigne for the other Azzurri, the Nazionale?
It almost seems like a waste of time to talk about it, but Insigne for the two teams are two totally different players. The irony is that for the most part, they play the same formation and he plays the same role for both club and country. Except it always goes all wrong when he pulls on the national team shirt, while he’s one of Napoli’s most dangerous players week in and week out.
So far, he’s scored two crucial goals for the Partenopei in the first four games of the season. There’s no denying his importance to Napoli, but his record for Italy paints a very different picture, and it can be summed up in one word: Abysmal.
The now 27-year-old has 27 caps to his name, with only four goals. Three of those goals have came in friendlies against Argentina, Spain and England, none of which Italy won. Out of the 27 appearances, only seven of them have been less than 30 minutes on the pitch.
His lone competitive goal came against Liechtenstein back in June of 2017. A 5-0 victory in Italy’s ill-fated World Cup qualification campaign. He played the full match in the following four qualifiers, scoring and assisting precisely zero goals. Perhaps it was the disgraced Gianpiero Ventura’s tactics that hindered him, or maybe its each of the four coaches who have been at the helm of the Italian national side since his debut in 2012 that have failed to get the most out of him.
Who knows. But the truth is, Italy needs a strong, imposing winger to be competitive in a 4-3-3, and if Insigne’s numbers are indicative of his future, it won’t be him.