Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco vows to find a way back on Italy squad

TORONTO – Sebastian Giovinco learned the news just like everyone else did.  

The reigning MLS MVP didn't get any advance notice from Antonio Conte when the Italian national team manager omitted him from Italy's 30-man preliminary squad to prepare for Euro 2016.

“Like normal I was upset,” the striker revealed on Wednesday, “but it's useless to think about it. I need to keep going, keep improving, so I can find my place back on the national team.”

Not one to dwell, Giovinco preferred to look forward, but there was something obvious behind the subdued words, something Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney noticed.

“I spoke to him on Sunday,” Vanney said a day earlier. “He may have had an impression at that point [that he wouldn't be on the team]. He seemed on the verge of disappointment. [We] haven't sat down and talked about it specifically. I am sure, as a competitor, he's highly disappointed.”

That gloom was partially evident on the weekend, when Giovinco's laser-like accuracy was noticeably askew, contributing to a scoreless draw with Columbus Crew SC, where he took personal responsibility for the dropping of points.

What also caught Giovinco's attention on Wednesday was the reaction from the North American soccer community to comments by Conte that MLS could have impacted his chances of selection to the Italy squad. For his part, Giovinco doubled down on his commitment to the league.

“As long as I continue to have fun I'm going to keep playing in the league [MLS]," he said. “I've always said that [MLS] is constantly growing. Right now, I feel like it's one of the best, most beautiful leagues.”

Giovinco, who won last year's Golden Boot as MLS top scorer, will next turn his focus to adding to his current league-leading goal total (tied with eight goals) with a trip to Red Bull Arena on Saturday night (7 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE).

“I'm sure he'll be motivated," said Vanney, forewarning upcoming opponents. "When people questioned him coming here, he immediately came out and was fantastic. Now he hasn't been selected, my anticipation is that he'll prove that he should have been.”

“I think Seba now puts it behind him, moves on, and continues to do absolutely fantastic things for us,” predicted Giovinco's TFC teammate, Will Johnson.

“He's a competitor. Everyday in training, he wants to be perfect. He wants to take this team to the next level and maybe this will give him a boost. I don't know how you could boost where he's currently at,” he continued. “But if it's possible, Seba will find a way.”

And that applies to his Italian national team aspirations, too.

“I'm always available for the national team,” restated Giovinco despite the week's events, noting, “It's always up to the coach.”

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