By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer
The last time Fabio Quagliarella got a regular run in the Juventus XI, he was still a Napoli player. His 17 starts in 2010-11 during the reign of Luigi Del Neri resulted in nine goals by Christmas, but the cruciate ligament injury he sustained against Parma immediately after the winter break stopped him in his stride. The Bianconeri may have made the decision to sign him on a permanent deal the following summer, but he has not been treated as a particularly valuable commodity since then.
From the day Antonio Conte took over at Vinovo, Quagliarella has not seemed to get a fair deal. Just weeks after the coach arrived from Siena, he appeared ready to offload the former Udinese striker in a bid to bring in Juan Manuel Vargas as an answer to his left-wing issue as he looked to set Juve up in a 4-2-4 formation.
He then left the Italy international kicking his heels for long spells, with his first start not being granted until mid-December, leading many to suggest that his days on the Old Lady’s roster were numbered. But Quagliarella has remained a Juventus forward, and while less deserving team-mates have been given plenty of opportunities to prove their worth, he has had to make the most of the few chances that have come his way.
|MATCH FACTS | Pescara 1-6 Juventus
When he has played, he has regularly looked like Juventus’ most effective finisher, with his match-saving introduction against Chelsea in September and double against Chievo three days later providing the most notable snapshot of his true worth to date. And on Saturday night, he punished Pescara badly for their defence deficiencies by netting a hat-trick in the Bianconeri’s convincing 6-1 victory at the Stadio Adriatico.
Giovanni Stroppa’s side may not have provided the toughest of tests - in fact, this was as easy as Juve could have wished it to be - but Quagliarella’s instinct and finishing were right out of the top drawer. This was as clinical a display as Conte’s troops have presented in quite some time, and much of that was down to the ex-Sampdoria man.
After seeing Arturo Vidal open the scoring, he doubled his side’s advantage when collecting a low pass from the right, taking a touch to leave his marker, Antonio Bocchetti, out of the picture, and firing low across Mattia Perrin. Shortly before half-time, he made it 5-1 by darting off the shoulder of Uros Cosic, ghosting into the channel and again driving low past Perrin.
In between the hat-trick hero's goals, Sebastian Giovinco had found the net to reward a positive performance, while Kwadwo Asamoah had responded to Emmanuel Cascione’s header by scoring with an instinctive overhead kick from close range after Quagliarella had forced the ball loose. And the striker was not to be outdone in the flair stakes, rounding off the scoring and claiming the match ball by mimicking Asamoah’s spectacular effort early in the second half.
This was a reminder to all of what he is capable of, but most of all it was a message to his coach. Alessandro Matri has struggled in front of goal, Mirko Vucinic has added flair and power but few goals, and Giovinco has looked out of position in a front two. Quagliarella, meanwhile, has been left to play third, fourth or sometimes fifth fiddle. But after his latest exhibition of what he has in his locker, maybe he will finally get a chance to show that he can do the business consistently for Conte’s Juventus.Follow Kris Voakes on