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Wednesday 17 July 2013

Giaccherini 'just the job for Sunderland'

Italian football expert Paolo Menicucci says Emanuele Giaccherini is a shrewd signing by Sunderland

  • Giaccherini has the speed and stamina Menicucci believes will suit the Premeir League

  • The displays of Giaccherini, right, for Cesena persuaded Juventus to sign him in 2011

  • The winger celebrates the winner against Catania that helped Juventus win the title

  • Giaccherini scores against Brazil at the FIFA Confederations Cup

Following the signing of Italy international Emanuele Giaccherini from Juventus on Tuesday, spoke to Italian football journalist Paolo Menicucci about the "dream player" he believes could be a dark horse for Sunderland next season. Tell us about Emanuele Giaccherini. What is his background?
Paolo Menicucci:
Giaccherini made his name at Cesena where he was an attacking midfielder with a lot of creativity and technique. Then he moved to Juventus and changed a bit his way of playing. He became more of a little soldier in Antonio Conte's squad, working a lot harder than at Cesena. He played more of a defensive role and more on the wings, with a game based more on defending than attacking as at Cesena.

"He has great speed and stamina, which is ideal for playing in the Premier League, so he could be a success"
Paolo Menicucci

This change helped him to become a full Italy international under Cesare Prandelli and he was one of the best players at the recent FIFA Confederations Cup for Italy, playing on the wings and not as an attacking midfielder.

What is his best position?
On the wing. He can play on the left and the right. He works hard for the team and he combines that hard-working ethic with good feet and a good technique.

Would it be fair to say he's something of a late developer?
Yes, it's a well-known story in Italy. He had been playing really well with lower-division teams and with a small team in Serie A like Cesena. Then a big team, Juventus, discovered that he could play for them as well. He didn't play regularly for Juve, however. He wasn't really a first-choice player, but he came off the bench a lot, played in different positions, and scored crucial goals. Many believe he scored the goal that sealed the Scudetto for Juventus last season. It was in March when he got the only goal of the game against Catania in stoppage time which took Juventus nine points clear at the top of Serie A and many felt it was the decisive goal of the season.

What is his best quality as a player?
His humble approach. He is always ready to help out the team with his running, playing whenever and wherever he is asked to. He is not one of these football divas. He is the opposite – always ready to help, be humble and sacrifice himself for the team.

Do you think he has the necessary qualities to thrive in the Premier League?
PM: Yes. Since the start of his career he's always had very good technique and creativity, even if he changed a bit his way of playing, so he is good enough to play in the Premier League. He also has great speed and stamina, which is ideal for playing there as well so he could be a success.

Reluctant sale

I also know that although Juventus sold him they didn't want to get rid of him. They sold him just because it was good money, not because he wasn't good enough to play there. It was a good offer and a good bargain, because they signed him from Cesena for free, but had he stayed he would have certainly had a place in the squad.

"Giaccherini is a dream player for any coach"
Paolo Menicucci Do you think he was a victim of his own versatility because he can play in so many positions?
He was mostly a victim of Juventus's three-man midfield, which is very good. With Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo in there it is very difficult to take their place. Will he get on well with his new head coach and compatriot Paolo Di Canio?
PM: Yes, I don't think he’ll have any problems. Giaccherini is one of these guys who is a dream player for any coach because he always does whatever the coach asks of him. He never creates problems. Do you think it is a surprise that he has gone to the Premier League because not many Italians come over?
PM: Di Canio knows Serie A very well, so that helped his cause because he knows what Giaccherini can do. Giaccherini is a bit of a dark horse because he is not that well known as a player abroad but an expert on Italian football like Di Canio knows that this player will be a great help to his team.

A limited number of tickets are still available for semi-finals day when Giaccherini's Sunderland take on Tottenham Hotspur and can be bought here.

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Key Points

  • Italian football journalist Paolo Menicucci gives the inside track on Sunderland signing Emanuele Giaccherini
  • Menicucci regards winger as a 'dream for any manager' and a 'dark horse' for next season
  • Writer says Juventus sold quicksilver Italy international with great reluctance