Gaetano Castrovilli struggled in his second season at Fiorentina and Giancarlo Rinaldi believes things could have been much different for him if the Euros were played one year ago.

If the Euros had been a year ago, he’d have been a shoo-in for the Italy squad. One of the revelations of last season, his form would have been impossible for Roberto Mancini to ignore. This campaign, however, has been a more testing one which means Gaetano Castrovilli’s place at the championships is much more questionable.

It has been a remarkable rise, no matter if he misses out or not. A couple of summers ago it looked like Fiorentina had little faith in him but then coach Vincenzo Montella spotted something he liked and vetoed a move away. How right he proved to be.

Comparisons with Giancarlo Antognoni were a little over the top but, nonetheless, the boy sparkled in yet another lacklustre Fiorentina side. His touch and skills were sometimes the only things that made the admission fee worthwhile as he grew in stature from game to game. He became both a defence breaker and a goalscoring attacking midfielder of no little repute.

This season, however, has been a more sticky one and must have hit his Italy prospects. He has not always been a first choice and the flashes of class have been much more sporadic this time around. In an area where the Azzurri are blessed, you can almost hear the sound of the door creaking closed.

That would be a bit tough on ‘Castro’ who tried to take the Viola on his back after the departure of Federico Chiesa. A bit like his departed colleague before him, it felt like he was trying to do too much and it affected his performances. There were more shakes of the head than high fives when he left the pitch this season.

He does offer something different, however. A bit more box-to-box and imaginative than others, he could prove a handy joker to play in games where the opposition defence is proving tough to crack. Still only 24, there will be more chances of major championships to come.

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