Unsung Heroes are the players who make the substantial, but perhaps unrecognised, contributions that propel their teams & teammates towards success, critical acclaim, & career defining moments. This series will try to acknowledge their efforts, their skills, & their indespensable importance to their clubs that sometimes go uncredited by those watching...
Jorginho may be overshadowed by Napoli captain Marek Hamsik when looking at the team sheet, but the Brazilian-born Italian is just as pivotal to their high pressing, intricate passing set up as the Slovakian.
His work-rate & ability to break up play, combined with his vision & passing accuracy, makes him an integral part to the Napoli system. Working as a deep-lying playmaker allows him to dictate the tempo of the game, acting as the lynchpin to one of the fastest paced attacks in European football.
Perhaps his nationality complications were the reason he wasn’t called up sooner, but the Italian national side badly missed a playmaking midfielder in their failed attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It was only when he was called up in the 2nd play-off game against Sweden that Jorginho’s talent was truly realised, sadly it was too late as Italy failed to beat a resilient Swedish side who won 1-0 on aggregate.
An indispensable cog in the Napoli side, surely future Italian teams will call upon the services of Jorginho if they wish to get back amongst the European elites.
Perhaps not the 1st name people think of when talking about Manchester City’s season, but Fabian Delph has quietly become one of their key players, cementing the unfamiliar left back position as his own in the absence of summer signing Benjamin Mendy.
His versatility allows him to move from midfield to left back with ease, giving Pep Guardiola with a credible full-back or wing-back option worthy of his high-pressure, possession-based football. That midfield experience gives him the engine & passing required to maintain his place in the starting XI when most managers would see him as just another midfield option.
Most critics will tell you City’s spending has been the catalyst for their rise to the top of the league, especially since spending over £100m on full-backs alone in recent transfer windows, but for a seemingly forgotten player, signed for a mere £8m in 2015, to become one of the stand out players in that role is surely credit to both Delph’s talent & his manager’s choice to play him there.
We may look back on the 2017/18 season as the year of de Bruyne & Guardiola et al, but credit should also be given to the efforts of Fabian Delph for their success.