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Rock the Crossbar

Friday, February 10

Joe Red to choose Italy

From today's Manchester Evening News:

United youngster Giuseppe Rossi will choose Italy over the USA should he make the step up to international football.

The striker was born in New Jersey, but is also eligible to play for the Azzurri.

And although he is grateful for the help he got as a young footballer in the States, he has intimated that his heart belongs to Italy.

"I grew up watching the Italian team and Serie A,” he said.

"I really appreciate having had the chance to play for America and I thank the USA for that. But Italian football has always been a part of me."


  • *yawn*

    Johno posts something he knows I'll respond to, and here I am.


    Sky ran something about this a few weeks back that was little more than rehashing of an article written around the time of our friendly against Scotland. Bruce Arena had been in touch with young Giuseppi around that time, and Rossi said basically "thanks but not thanks" then, so Bruce came out in response to a question on the subject saying, in effect, "we're not in the business of chasing 18 year olds who say they don't want to play for us but can't get a game for their club." A bit harsh, admittedly, but it's precisely the sort of response one would hope for. At least this appears to be the product of more recent work, and maybe the Italians have been in touch since then. The question remains, of course, whether Rossi will ever get a game for the senior Italian side. Interesting comment to the article originally referenced..."correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe the Italians pick players who aren't in Serie A very often. Rossi may change his mind if the USA beats Italy in the world cup this summer....not as far fetched as you may think. I was in the USA a couple of weeks ago and watched a USA team made up solely of MLS players absolutely destroy Norway 5-0 and it wasn't that close. admittedly it was also a second string Norway side but the difference in class was unbelievable."
    los, southport
    10/02/2006 at 15:26

    By Blogger Glazer Shmazer, at 10:45 AM  

  • Good luck to Rossi if that's what he wants.

    I think Panucci was the last Italian player selected to the national team that played for a club outside of Italy. I think he was at Real. Presumably the appalling Cassano is still somewhere in the frame of the national squad though he's now at Madrid too. Those are the only two that I can think of in the past 8 years. Was Zola at Chelsea while picked for the Azzuri? I don't think he was, but someone could correct that and I'd believe it.

    All of those players however, established themselves in Italy and were picked from Serie A clubs. Since he's only a kid, Rossi has time on his side, but I'd be very surprised if he gets picked for the Italians before he spends a season at an Italian club.

    I think he may be thinking of his future away from Old Trafford and away to an Italian club team where he can make an impression on the current manager and get media support for his selection. His comments have indicated that he feels closer to Italy so it's likely that affinity overrides his ties even to Man Utd. And even if it's escaped him that the Italians seldom pick anyone not an Italian club player, someone on the payroll will point it out.

    It's one thing for Freddie Adu to seek US status because he clearly doesn't want Ghanaian status. Ghana is always one of a handful of competitive African nations that compete for inclusion. Contrast that with the US that with Mexico have a lock on inclusion because of the paucity of talented neighbor nations. Freddie's more desperate to be capped for the US and picked for this WC squad because of the showcase it presents for him to be picked up by a Milan, Chelsea, Man Utd. or whatever. MLS is rightly considered a second tier league and Freddie knows he's got to get out to keep progressing as a player. Rossi's at a top club and it's already very likely that an Italian club will make a bid for him because he's shown potential in a top league.

    Add to Rossi's decision that if it doesn't work out, a US coach in the future would be glad to cap him.

    He can't lose with this decision to hold out.

    By Blogger gooner71, at 11:15 AM  

  • I wasn’t instagating Tom. Just saw the article and we have spoken about it a few times before. If I was trying to get a rise out of you I would have mentioned Kenny Cooper being shipped back to Dallas by United…oops…I just did 
    I don’t particularly care who he chooses except maybe that, all things being equal, he would miss less games for United in the future if he opts for Italy rather than having to travel over and back to the US during the season.
    You both make it sound like there is some serious calculation behind this decision. Maybe it’s a lot simpler than that though. Maybe he considers himself 100% Italian and has no desire to play for the US, or any other country, regardless of whether they beat Italy in the World Cup or whether he ever gets a game for Italy. I know many players have declared for Ireland because they know they wouldn’t get a game for England and want to play international football but not all players think like that. Some obviously prefer to declare for the country that is closest to their heart and give it their best shot. I wouldn’t take it as any kind of slight on the US.
    Regarding his future at United, rumour has it he is about to be offered a very lucrative long term deal by United.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 1:26 PM  

  • A long term offer would look to be good business for United. Whatever is on Rossi's mind, committing him to the club means that United would get paid his plans are to eventually move on to Italy and get established there.

    John, in the team right now, how would he fit in the first team in your opinion. Who would he replace? Would he best be groomed to replace Scholes or would you have him playing off Rooney in a more forward role?

    By Blogger gooner71, at 2:24 PM  

  • It will be interesting to see what position he ends up in. I think his best position is where Rooney plays right now so, to answer your specific question, he doesn't fit in the first team right now but its a good problem to have.
    As he gets older and a bit stronger he could very well end up playing deeper in a Scholes role. Remember Scholes used to be an out and out striker.
    I don't want to jump on his bandwagon too much as I have seen very little of him personally. However, from reading the comments of guys who go to reserve team games, the last young player who generated this kind of buzz while in the United reserves was Scholes.
    I can see us possibly selling Smith and Ole at the end of the season and having Ruud, Rooney, Saha and Rossi as our four strikers going forward. When he gets in and in what position probably depends on how long Ruud, who turns 30 in July, sticks around. If Ruud sticks around for another 3/4 years then I think Rossi's role will be as backup to Rooney - who is playing an awful lot of games for a young lad. If Ruud leaves in a year or two I can see Rossi playing behind Rooney. Its very difficult to anticipate how a young reserve team player will progress.If there is one area where I have blind faith in Ferguson though its how to handle and introduce young players.

    Vidic looked very good today. We were lazy in the second half but if we can get centre midfield right this Summer we will be an excellent side next year.We don't need to spend another penny on keepers, defenders or forwards right now.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 3:03 PM  

  • Didn't think you were really trying to wind me up, Johno, and the Kenny Cooper move to FCD is actually very interesting from where MLS sits. I understand he had a range of opportunities in England but wanted to be sure of getting a game. Even the most enthusiastic booster of MLS would be on crack to suggest that coming home wasn't somehow his best shot. Having said all that, it's clear Rossi's taking a wise course of action here. Arena, or whoever else might manage our national team one day, won't come chasing after him, but he doesn't need to at this point. Assuming he continues to improve and mature in a manner consistent with what he's shown thus far, we'll still want him, he'll still want Italy, and it will come out clearly soon enough. I think it's a shame that he wouldn't feel ANY kind of connection to the States, but hey, I'm not him. If it's true, what sucks are the rumors that his father is calling all the shots and pushing the Azurri agenda. If that's the case, it's bad advice. I love our national team, but it's fairly obvious that Giuseppi's chances of playing in a World Cup are - for now - much better as an American than an Italian. And, by the way, this kid is still more American than Owen Hargreaves is English.

    By Blogger Glazer Shmazer, at 6:59 PM  

  • Does this guy actually speak Italian? How "Italian" is he?

    End of day it's his choice just like Adu's. To Tom's point, Rossi is also more American than Cascarino was Irish.

    By Blogger Chris P, at 7:42 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 11:29 PM  

  • Excellent point Chris. Except of course I never questioned Rossi's eligibility to play for the US. He was born here last time I checked. I questioned his desire to play for the US not his eligibility so I don't see how this compares to Tony Cascarino at all.
    Now if I could only figure out which country you support I might have some chance of a witty comeback.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 10:28 AM  

  • Hey Tom.
    Whats with the yawns before and after your early commentary - United fan cant ask a question about a United player??? Or did you do that American soccer fan thing where they get all defensive immediately for no apparent reason. Just cant figure out the yawns as you said John didnt get a rise out of you?

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 10:40 AM  

  • I was actually making fun of myself. It's all good, at least until Zinn finds us, or someone stalks One Man BuWankWank and directs him here. Hope you know me well enough to know I don't get defensive unless it's justified - e.g. when anyone questions Landon Donovan's character after twice leaving Europe.

    By Blogger Glazer Shmazer, at 7:08 PM  

  • On the subject of Ruud, encouraging comments today:

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 2:15 PM  

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