JORGINHO’S nickname in the Italy squad is ‘The Professor’ — and perhaps we in England have now finally learnt to appreciate his talents.
For most of his time on these shores, fans struggled to ‘get’ the Chelsea star, wondering exactly what it is he brings to a team.
Ironically, the midfielder seems the type Gareth Southgate needs to help England take that final step.
Jorginho has had a summer most can only dream of, adding a Euro winners’ medal to Champions League glory.
The double has seen the Italian emerge as an unlikely contender for the Ballon d’Or.
That seemed unfathomable when he was frozen out in the latter days of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea reign.
Hindsight would suggest ostracising him was a mistake.
But in the season before, when he started regularly for Lampard, many Blues fans questioned his selection.
Some saw him as the poster boy of a dull year under Maurizio Sarri and decried his lack of creativity and poor tackling.
Others have always claimed his comfort in possession makes the team tick.
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The latter was the case in Porto in May as Thomas Tuchel’s organised Blues side shocked Manchester City in the Champions League final.
He was then the heartbeat for Italy, playing more Euro 2020 minutes than any outfield player of any side with 705.
Jorginho, who calmly slotted the winning spot-kick against Spain in the semis before missing against England, was recognised with a place in the Uefa team of the tournament.
Speaking ahead of the final, former boss Sarri said: “He is so good and intelligent that he makes everything seem easy.
“Fans and journalists (in England) struggled to understand this boy’s game.”
The Lazio chief also claimed Jorginho would be deserving of the Ballon d’Or if Italy beat England, which they did on penalties.
Team-mate Lorenzo Insigne said: “I hope he’ll be shortlisted. He deserves it, he is a great player.
"I call him ‘The Professor’, and we are all happy to play with him.”
Jorginho’s work off the ball was hugely appreciated as he set a new record for most interceptions at a Euros with 25.
The midfielder also ran further than anyone and was the tournament’s third-most fouled player.
His anticipation and composure are the kind of attributes England need to help dictate a game.
They lost their grip in the final and such a player would help prevent that, although there will be high hopes Declan Rice can master that craft.
Lampard may not have rated Jorginho highly but Tuchel certainly seems to.
His agent Joao Santos claims his client has admirers beyond Stamford Bridge, including Juventus.
But after such an impressive summer, surely Chelsea is where he will stay — and finally get the credit he is due.
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