Sebastian Giovinco is determined to earn a place in the Italy squad for Euro 2016, believing his form at Toronto has helped put him “back in the race” for a spot.
Giovinco moved to the MLS side from Juventus in January 2015, with suggestions his time with the national team would end as a result.
The 29-year-old scored 22 goals and supplied 16 assists in his first season with Toronto, earning a recall to the Italy squad from Antonio Conte for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Norway last October.
The forward is confident he will form part of the squad for the tournament in France if he continues his sensational form in the 2016 MLS season, which begins when his side face New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
“Some believed that I wouldn’t return to the national team, but I did well here and I was called up again,” Giovinco told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The coach says that he puts no limits [on who he will call up], so I know it’s only going to be down to me to earn his attention.
“The different calendar in MLS may represent an advantage, but honestly it’s largely an irrelevant one. Starting from today, though, I’m back in the race.
“The coach already has some ideas, but in three months there’s enough time to make some changes.
“Knowing that I’ll be called up if I do well but left at home if I don’t is helpful, regardless of what people may say about my peace of mind.”
Italy lack individual quality in the attacking area, but Giovinco believes the team ethic instilled by Conte makes up for any shortcomings.
“We certainly don’t have the strikers that we used to and the numbers prove that,” he added. “But now we have elements that can do really well when they’re placed in teams that are set up properly.
“We used to rely on the creativity of an individual, now it’s more about the game. Times have changed, and everyone has their own opinion.
“It’s a good thing that I can’t take my place for granted. This has always been the case for me, and it’s something that strengthened my character.”
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