Andrea Belotti may be behind Ciro Immobile in Roberto Mancini’s pecking order, but Giancarlo Rinaldi reckons the Granata striker can play a key role for the Azzurri at the Euros.
There was a time when we thought he would be a mainstay of the Italian team for years to come. A few years ago Andrea Belotti’s stock was so high it seemed only a matter of time before he made some big money transfer and set off for the stratosphere. Instead, he cemented his place as a Torino legend by staying put but his reputation in world football has undoubtedly suffered.
There is little doubt Il Gallo will be part of the Azzurri’s plans this summer. In a squad that lacks his kind of hitman, he offers an option that it will be hard to resist. You always feel that if something could click, he could start finding the net with much greater regularity than his 11 goals in 32 games for his country suggest. It would be a very welcome boost if he could start to deliver.
It has been another testing season with the Granata for the experienced forward. Once again he has been trying to drag his team away from the relegation zone almost single-handedly and that is bound to have taken its toll. At least it will be a bit of a welcome break from that for him to play with the national team.
He has been Roberto Mancini’s best scorer for his country with a meagre six strikes and that hints at the difficulties the team has had in finding a prolific scorer. They play a lot of nice football but they don’t really have a man who finishes off all their moves on a regular basis. Belotti should be that guy but he has been a bit hit and miss and often seems to lose his scoring edge due to the sheer workrate he puts in to help his team.
That is a great contribution in itself and – at the very least – he can be a handful for opposition defenders and help clear the way for others to strike. If he can recapture the glories of a few seasons ago, he could offer much more than that, of course. Either way, he is likely to play a key role if Italy are to progress into the later stages of this competition.