Cesare Prandelli has largely used him as an impact player so far, but with qualification assured and the 'Atomic Ant' in great form, now's the time for a bigger role.He remains one of the most talked-about players in Italy, and, in the first month of the season, Sebastian Giovinco has shown exactly why. Six goals in five games for Parma have seen him rise to the top of the capocannoniere charts and now he could be set to take his next step up the international ladder as the group-winning Azzurri travel to Serbia for their Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday.
Giovinco's history with Juventus is well known, but many questioned the career move when Parma took up the option of co-ownership of the attacker this summer. The rewards have been immediate.
|SEBASTIAN GIOVINCO | His senior career so far, season-by-season
Last season was just a taster. On loan from the Bianconeri, Giovinco showed flashes of the player he could become as he was finally given a lengthy run in Serie A, the likes of which he hadn’t tasted since his previous loan spell with Empoli back in 2007-08. Playing largely on the left side of attack in a 4-3-3 formation, he was the catalyst for many of the Gialloblu’s better moments as they managed to stave off threats of relegation despite all sorts of issues behind the scenes.
His form was enough for president Tommaso Ghirardi to offer him another season in Emilia-Romagna, this time with Parma having 50 percent of his economic rights. It was the best move the club could possibly have made, and it has proven to have been in the interests of the player to boot.
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After opening his account against Grosseto in the Coppa Italia, he has gone on to lead the Crociati to victories over Chievo and Genoa, scoring a brace on each occasion. Add to that his now customary strike against his part-employer on opening day, and Giovinco is threatening to tear up the league single-handedly.
His tally so far is only one goal shy of last season’s career-best mark, and is merely a reflection of his form. The 24-year-old has grown into the role of being the team's focal point, and it’s a baton he could well pick up for his country too.
While Antonio Cassano has been asked to do much of the creating in the final third in the Cesare Prandelli era, Italy still looks short of a Giovinco-style player – one who can start from deep, take on defenses and trust in his ability to make plays.
His fleeting appearances for the Azzurri so far have shown huge promise in terms of the possibility of him becoming a huge part of the national set-up, and now that Italy has already qualified for Euro 2012, Prandelli could do a lot worse than ask Giovinco to show him what he can do over 90 minutes in a competitive fixture.
Come next summer, La Nazionale are going to need something different. But as an impact sub when things are going wrong, and as a starter when a trump card needs to be played against defenses vulnerable to pace. Having come of age with Parma, it is time for Giovinco to prove he is the man for the job.Follow Kris Voakes on