Davide Chiumiento
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Vancouver's Chiumiento expects to shine under Rennie

He puts the artist in trequartista.

Davide Chiumiento’s creativity, guile and vision make him one of Major League Soccer’s most talented individuals, but as with many right brain-dominant players, the Swiss-Italian had his detractors during his first season in the league due to a perceived lack of consistency.

Now, with new coach Martin Rennie and a revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad, things are beginning to look a tad more promising.

“What I like a lot is that our training [sessions] are very good,” Chiumiento told MLSsoccer.com. “Even in preseason, where you have to work a lot, we’re doing a lot of things with the ball and that’s great. All training sessions are different. We play little games and use them to improve.

Chiumiento talks 'Caps preseason win vs. SKC

“He speaks with the guys and everyone feels very comfortable – it’s important for the players.”

Chiumiento ran afoul of his coaches at times in 2011. First he complained about then head coach Teitur Thordarson’s decision to play him as a right winger rather than in his preferred second striker role.

Then he found himself on the fringes of the squad near the end of the season as interim coach Tom Soehn, who has since gone back to his job as director of soccer operations, appeared to lose patience with the mercurial attacker’s ways, benching him for three weeks in the final month of the season.

But already there’s a different attitude from Chiumiento. While he still admits that playing centrally is his preference, he suggested the attacking system favored by Rennie, which places more of the midfield defensive responsibilities on two holding midfielders, means that even if he’s deployed wide it won’t be the sort of restrictive role he wasn’t happy about playing last season.

Perhaps it’s simply a realization that with such an improved squad from last season, getting any spot in the starting XI just became a bit more difficult. The arrivals of Sébastien Le Toux, Darren Mattocks and Etienne Barbara to a deep attacking group that already included the likes of Eric Hassli, Camilo, Atiba Harris and Omar Salgado means playing time will be at a premium.

“If you have more good players in a team, it’s always better,” Chiumiento said. “It’s positive and everybody, even myself, has to train always well. You have other guys [pushing for your place], and you always have to give your best. More options makes everybody better, even in training, because you know you have to always do a good job.

“Just 11 players get to start.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.

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