Jorginho – the midfield maestro at the heart of Chelsea and Italy’s European glory


As the excitement was starting to build around Italy’s magical Euro 2020 win, a video of Italy midfielder Jorginho surfaced on social media. In it, the 29-year-old can be seen singing “It’s Coming Rome” alongside Leonardo Bonucci. Of course, this is a parody of the English song “It’s Coming Home”. Depending on who you ask, this song has been used for the past three years to show either defiance or ironic over-confidence. But one thing’s for sure – it takes guts to mock your fallen adversaries like that.

However, this action makes Jorginho the epitome of the player. He is never afraid to express himself on the field and he is a team man from inside. In fact, it would be fair to say that he has been a vital cog in the all-conquering Italian machine.

Jorginho – Metronomic Maestro

Jorginho is someone who has long divided opinion among fans and experts alike. His fans point out that his presence in midfield is crucial, as he sets the tempo and helps keep the ball in his favor. He also has an underrated final ball and is a good penalty taker.

However, his critics point to a lack of boldness in his play as well as a tendency to make the odd error as he cannot be seen as an elite. Naturally, the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between.

He does have some notable drawbacks – most notably a lack of pace. This can make him susceptible to getting out on the break. This is one area of ​​his game that he struggled with when he first joined Chelsea – particularly when he was go over a referee,

Yet their positives far outweigh their negatives, meaning that managers often use methods to address their weaknesses while enhancing their strengths.

At Napoli, he was accompanied by hard-working midfielders Marik Hamsik and Alan. That made things easier for Jorginho who, as the deepest of the midfield trio, did what he does best.

At Chelsea, under Sarri, he played in the same position. However, there was a small problem – he was seen by many as the coach’s favorite. As such, when Sarri was coming under fire from the Stamford Bridge faithful, it was their star midfielder who became a lightning rod of sorts.

He was booed loudly by the fans, but he fought hard to win them – and the club legacy – over. He was named one of the club’s vice-captains by Sarri’s successor, Frank Lampard. And he continues in that role under Lampard’s successor Thomas Tuchel.

How managers get the best out of them

But even after the fans have stopped booing him, it hasn’t always been easy for Jorginho. Towards the end of Lampard’s reign, he often cut a peripheral figure, starting from the bench.

This changed soon after Tuchel was brought in to replace Lampard. The German, who values ​​ball possession and employing complex attacking plays, saw Jorginho at the center of his plans.

Thus he came back into favor – at first with mixed results. But as time went on, people realized that Tuchel had done one thing that neither Sarri nor Lampard managed – to make Kante and Jorginho play in unison in a system.

Tuchel’s new 3–4–3 formation saw the manager employ two deep-sitting midfielders, or the ‘double six’. The Italian sat deep and directed the play. With the ball he sat deep and made crucial passes while continuing to attack.

Without it, he directed either one of the three centre-backs where they should be when plugging the holes closest to him. It was a role that suited both him and Kante.

Indeed, deprived of the need to possess the ball or play easy passes, the French began to shine. He played the role of marauding midfield man to perfection, sniffing out attacks, but also joined in as a midfield runner when needed. Of course, it was down to Jorginho being focused on directing the play.

In Italy, the situation is different. He operates in a three-man midfield and sits deep. But there are two small but important factors that explain his Euro 2020 success.

For one, international football is slow, allowing players like Jorginho to take it easy. Also, this tournament is coming at the end of a long condensed season. Thus, the pace of the game is still slow. However, that shouldn’t take away from the tournament he had.

Jorginho for the Ballon d’Or?

Italy came into Euro 2020 as a side that was greater than the sum of its parts. Their attacking and defensive play was harmonious, with everyone having a clear role to play.

In this sense there was no true ‘star’ of the team – everyone pitched in when needed. But Jorginho’s role in the team didn’t go unnoticed.

In fact, such has been his impact on club and country in 2021 that calls are being made to nominate him for the Ballon d’Or.

Certainly, when it was raised for him after the Euro final, he preferred to focus on the team’s achievement. But the fact that these conversations are happening shows their importance.

It is likely that the midfielder will continue to be an important part of any team he plays in. In fact, he became the 10th player to play in the final of the Champions League and win the European Championship in the same season.

Obviously, none of this will matter to his opponents. But as long as he keeps winning, of course their words won’t matter to him.



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