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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Toronto's Giovinco 'doesn't know what to do' to earn Italy call-up - agent

With two stars out for Toronto FC in the first leg, Steve Nicol says Columbus have a chance to put the tie away early.

The agent for Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco said his client "doesn't know what to do" to get back in the picture for the Italy national team.

Giovinco, 30, has not been included in the senior team since an October 2015 call-up for a European Championship qualifier despite being one of the most prolific scorers in Major League Soccer with 55 goals in 86 appearances since arriving from Juventus in 2015.

The 23-times capped Italy international helped Toronto to the 2017 Supporters' Shield and to the Eastern Conference finals in MLS' playoffs against Columbus Crew SC and is at a loss about how to get back in Gian Piero Ventura's team.

Italy face Sweden in the World Cup playoffs for one of the remaining four European spots for next summer's tournament after finishing second to Spain in their group and Giovinco was once again not called into the team.

And his agent Andrea D'Amico told TuttoMercatoWeb.com: "Any Italian player has that hope [of a recall], because it is an honour. You will need to ask the coach.

"He [Giovinco] has said it, other than that he doesn't know what to do.

"As for the rest, it is up to Ventura."

Last November, Ventura received some criticism from Toronto coach Greg Vanney when he said that Giovinco was not receiving call-ups because he played in a league that "doesn't count for much." Vanney dismissed those comments as ignorant.

Italy play their first leg against Sweden at the Friends Arena in Stockholm on Sunday.

Toronto returns to playoff action against Columbus on Nov. 21 after the international break, but will be without Giovinco, who was suspended for the first leg due to card accumulation.

Sebastian Giovinco
Sebastian Giovinco's agent said his client does not know what he needs to do to earn a call-up to the Italy team.

Meanwhile, Roma defender Emerson Palmieri says he has given his word that he will play his international football for Italy and not Brazil. The 23-year-old represented Brazil at under-17 level, but was called up to the Italy squad for a friendly against Uruguay and World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein in May.

Although he did not make his debut then, he has decided that he will only consider calls from Italy in future.

"I thought about it a lot -- for four months," he told ultimouomo.com. "Now, all I think about is the Italy national team. I think that we only should have one word and, after thinking a lot about this decision, I gave the Italy national team my word when I said that I wanted to play for them. I want to keep this word right to the end."

Emerson returned from a knee ligament tear to sit on the bench for Roma's 4-2 win over Fiorentina, and could be in contention to make his comeback in the derby with Lazio on Nov. 18.

That injury could have been an opportunity for Domenico Criscito to return to the Italy frame, but the Zenit St Petersburg defender feels that, like Giovinco, he is being overlooked because of the league he plays in.

"I've been scoring, giving assists and working with one of the best Italian coaches around [Roberto Mancini]," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I still dream of coming back [to play for Italy], but I don't want to comment on the decisions [taken by Ventura]. He knows where I am. It's tough, but I continue to have hope."

Napoli midfielder Jorginho has been included in Ventura's 27-man squad for the upcoming World Cup playoff against Sweden.

Jorginho had not been called up since appearing in friendlies against Spain and Germany prior to Euro 2016, with Ventura stating that he did not fit in with his preferred style of play, but with Brazil reported to be considering calling him up, he has been included in the latest Italy squad.

"It's been 10 years Jorginho has been working for this Italy call-up," his agent Joao Santos told Radio Marte. "Jorginho is delighted and, after this call-up, he has made his final decision to play for Italy. Italy is where he has made a name for himself and it's right that he plays for this national team. I think he could play a part in these playoffs, but the decision is obviously down to the coach."

Jorginho was not part of a 3-5-2 formation tested by Ventura on Monday. That team was made up of Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in defence, Antonio Candreva, Marco Parolo, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Verratti and Matteo Darmian in midfield, and Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza up front.

However, with Verratti and Parolo both a booking away from a ban, Jorginho may still be required to play in in the return leg at the San Siro next Monday.

ESPN FC's Italy correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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