Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco is finally back with the Azzurri.
“It’s a long time but now the most important thing is I’m back. So I’m happy,” he said with a smile after training Friday.
Italy manager Roberto Mancini has summoned Giovinco for a friendly against Ukraine in Genoa on Oct. 10 and a UEFA Nations League match against Poland in Chorzow on Oct. 14. Toronto plays at D.C. United on Oct. 17.
His last Italy call-up came for a pair of Euro 2016 qualifying matches in October 2015 when he saw action off the bench in wins over Azerbaijan and Norway.
“I’m very happy for him,” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney. “In all his time here, he’s proven for me to be the best player probably to ever come to this league. He’s continued to keep his level up, he’s produced every year. Even in a season that’s been challenging for us, he continues to produce.”
Giovinco earned his first cap for Italy in February 2011 in a friendly against Germany. Giovinco, who has represented Italy at every level from under-16 up, was part of Italy’s second-place finish at the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament. He scored his first international goal against Japan in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
He said it was tough watching Italy from the sidelines “especially when the results are not so great.”
Bradley will play for U.S.
“For Italian people, it means a lot,” he said of the national team. “I think now it’s time to change. I’ll try to do something to help the team.”
Toronto captain Michael Bradley, meanwhile, returns to action for the U.S. for the first time since the loss at Trinidad and Tobago last October that ended the Americans’ World Cup qualifying bid.
The U.S. faces Colombia on Oct. 11 in Tampa, Fla., and Peru on Oct. 16 in East Hartford, Conn.
TFC keeps playoff hopes alive:
“I’m excited to get back with the group,” Bradley said Friday. “See some old faces, start to get to know some of the younger guys that have been brought in.”
The 31-year-old U.S. captain has 17 goals in 140 international appearances. But interim coach Dave Sarachan has gone with youth for the eight matches (3-2-3) since the qualifying debacle.
Asked if there had been any discussion about wearing the captain’s armband again, Bradley replied: “No.”
Toronto striker Jozy Altidore, currently dealing with an ankle issue, has not been selected for the U.S. team since the Trinidad loss.