Jorginho’s Rediscovered Form has Lifted Napoli to Fight Among Italy’s Best
Posted on 05th October 2015
He’s not very fast. He’s not great in the tackle. He’s not the most physical.
But Jorginho is the heart of Napoli’s midfield at the moment, and his excellent performances have given the club a lift to fight for Italy’s top places.
The Brazilian-born Italian arrived in Naples from Verona in January of 2014 and quickly impressed under then-manager Rafael Benitez, eventually beating out Valon Behrami for a starting spot and guiding the Partenopei to a third-place finish.
However, the positive tides would soon turn. Low on confidence and lacking the proper focus, his first full season with Napoli was one to forget.
But it might have been more to due with the regista’s partners in the double pivot. The club failed to properly reinforce their midfield two summers ago and were left with a regressing Gokhan Inler, a mediocre Walter Gargano returning from his Parma loan and new arrival David Lopez, who was seen as player that did not help the club make the jump in quality.
The lack of quality personnel coupled with reduced minutes and low confidence for Jorginho resulted in not so great performances from the 23-year-old.
After holding down third place in the second half of the season, the club fell to fifth place on the final day of the campaign and Benitez left Naples’ shores for the Spanish capital. The player’s agent was recently quoted as saying that if Rafa would’ve stayed, Jorginho would’ve left the club, while also mentioning four Italian clubs were interested in the regista’s services.
However, a new coach and system were then brought to Campania and one of Maurizio Sarri’s preferences was utilising three in midfield, the same type of setup used by Verona that really catered to and showcased Jorginho’s style and skill.
Operating in the heart of midfield, every attack flows through the 23-year-old as Jorginho sets the rhythm of his side. Vocal and always moving into space to receive the ball, the midfielder commands his teammates going forward; his effortless coolness on the ball allows Napoli to play out of situations without panicking and cheaply giving away possession.
Astonishingly, the regista completed 213 out of 222 passes between appearances against Club Brugge and Lazio, demonstrating his ability and fine precision on the ball.
Looking to his form in Serie A, Jorginho has averaged 90% passing accuracy, which is the best return out of his teammates. Remarkably, the club has won every match that he has started in. A correlation between the two? We’d like to think so.
In their past six matches in all competitions since changing from a 4-3-1-2 to a 4-3-3 setup, the club have scored 18 goals and conceded just once.
Jorginho will once again have captain Marek Hamsik and Allan along either side of him, with the trio having formed a solid unit this season. The latter does all the dirty work and protects the playmaker while Hamsik tucks into advanced positions upfield and feeds the Partenopei’s attacking line.
If Jorginho’s good form continues, he might be able to attract the eye of Italian national team coach Antonio Conte. Jorginho became eligible for the Azzurri after years of living in the peninsula and completed his Italian citizenship last year. The 23-year-old could be a key player in Italy’s march to Euro 2016 and possibly towards helping lift the trophy in France.
For now, though, Jorginho holds the keys to Napoli’s midfield and their hopes of finishing in Champions League’s territory this season.
About the author – Matthew Amalfitano
Freelance football writer. Work published by FourFourTwo, the Independent, Betfair, beIN Sports USA, Squawka and others.