Sebastian Giovinco - Toronto FC - Screams after goal

Italy manager Giampiero Ventura ruffled some feathers on Monday when he said he didn’t call Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco up for the Azzurri’s upcoming matches against Liechtenstein and Germany because “he plays in a league where the number of goals a player scores is less important.”

“Giovinco? For two years I did everything to have him at Torino, but today he plays in a league where the number of goals a player scores is less important,” Ventura said. “In certain countries there’s a risk of adapting to another type of play. The phase of the game of coming back [to defend] and winning possession back, for example, becomes secondary, because an attacker can wait for the ball without many problems.”

On Tuesday, Giovinco’s agent hit back.

Speaking to Italian website, agent Andrea D’Amico said that he was surprised by Ventura’s comments and that he thinks Giovinco deserves “to be followed with maximum attention” by the Italy staff.

The 2015 MLS MVP, Giovinco is in the midst of an excellent season with Toronto FC. The 29-year-old recorded 17 goals and 15 assists in 28 regular season games and has been excellent in the MLS Cup Playoffs, notching four goals – including a hat trick at New York City FC in the second leg of Toronto’s Eastern Conference Semifinal win – and a pair of assists this postseason.

“I was surprised by Ventura’s words [explaining the exclusion],” D’Amico told “I believe that without knowledge you can’t have competence. The national team manager and his staff have the obligation to go and watch all Italian players, no matter which league they play and which country they find themselves."

Since signing with Toronto from Juventus in January 2015, Giovinco has made only two substitute appearances for Italy, both under Ventura’s predecessor, Antonio Conte.

“I don’t expect anything from anyone,” D’Amico said when asked if he expected more attention to be given to Giovinco. “I only say that for an attacker, the numbers speak for themselves, and Sebastian is scoring a lot – more than many other of his fellow Italian players. MLS is a league full of top-level athletes and in full growth just as competitive as the Russian Premier League where [Domenico] Criscito and [Salvatore] Bocchetti [other players excluded by Italy] play. Both [Criscito and Bocchetti] have great international experience and this year they are confirming themselves at a high level.

“The national team is an objective of every player. A manager has the right to make his choices, but he also has to know in detail all the material he has at his disposal. Giovinco, Criscito, Bocchetti and [Giulio] Donati deserve to be followed with maximum attention."