After the highs of Champions League and European Championship glory, as well as a third-place ranking in the Ballon d’Or, Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has been brought back down to earth of late after a string of dismal showings at international level, with it perhaps best to take him out of the firing line for his club this weekend against Brentford.
Having missed a crucial late penalty against Switzerland back in November to help consign Italy to the lottery of the World Cup play-offs, the 30-year-old was again culpable this week as Roberto Mancini’s side spectacularly blew their chances of qualifying for this year’s edition in Qatar, losing 1-0 to footballing minnows North Macedonia in Palermo.
While not his responsibility alone, the former Napoli man was at the centre of mockery after viral footage showed him being easily beaten by opposition midfielder Enis Bardhi in the centre of the park – a fact that may not be a surprise considering he has been dribbled twice per game on average this season in the Premier League.
That stark lack of recovery pace could well be an issue again this weekend against Thomas Frank’s high-octane and energetic side – who rank sixth in the league for attempted pressures – with the hosts perhaps in need of a more robust approach against their less fancied opponents.
The Bees also rank second in the league for aerial duels won and fifth for interceptions made, as per WhoScored, with Saturday’s game perhaps not the ideal fit for the diminutive playmaker – who Rio Ferdinand previously suggested “can’t run” and “doesn’t give you anything defensively” back in 2019.
Equally, questions must also be asked about whether he is mentally ready to be thrust back into action following the Azzurri’s shambolic Macedonia display, with the player himself admitting his earlier penalty misses in qualifying would be difficult to shake off.
“It hurts when I think about it, because I do still think about it and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.
“Stepping up there twice and not being able to help your team and your country is something that I will carry with me forever, and it weighs on me.
“People say we need to lift our heads and carry on, but it’s tough.”
Jorginho has been quite the favourite under Thomas Tuchel, making a total of 38 appearances across all competitions this campaign alone and he even took the armband in their last outing, a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.
Quite whether the £40.5m-rated midfielder can pick himself back up again so swiftly does remain to be seen, with it perhaps best for former Borussia Dortmund boss to resign him to the bench this weekend, ahead of a pivotal Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday against 13-time winners, Real Madrid.