Jacopo Sala was allowed to join Hamburg in 2011. Now he is hoping to make the final cut for the Italian under-21 side to help conquer England in Israel.
The European Under-21 Championships this summer gives many a young talented player the chance to highlight their ability on a continental stage; and is some cases earn a transfer abroad.
The likes of Steed Malbranque, Petr Cech and Royston Drenthe all spring off the top of my mind as previous examples of this practice.
But this summer it may also give many a player the chance to prove a few people wrong.
For Italian starlet Jacopo Sala that might be the case.
Remember the name? Well if you are a Chelsea fan you probably will as the 21-year-old midfielder was a youth-team player at the club between 2001 and 2011.
Chelsea snapped up the then 15-year-old from Italian outfit Atalanta B.C in 2007 and two years later he was training with the first team.
Of course his aspirations were for a positive future with the club admitting in 2009 that he wished to ‘find a place in the first team at Chelsea’.
Unfortunately for him that never happened and in 2011 he became one of many Chelsea youngsters to follow former sporting director Frank Arnesen to German outfit Hamburg SV.
In truth things have not entirely gone to plan in Germany either.
In his first season he could be forgiven for his lack of impact but this year has also been poor.
Used more often or not as a wing-back he has managed just 176 minutes of Bundesliga football for the club; playing 90 minutes once in a 4-1 pasting by Schalke.
He has spent most of his time with the Hamburger II team so his inclusion in Italy’s under-21’s may come as something of a surprise.
However he is in the preliminary squad selection for the upcoming tournament in Israel along with fellow former blue Fabio Borini of Liverpool.
On top of that Italy are in the same Group A as England and he will be hoping to have an impact on the nation where he was turned away from club football.
The final selection has to be made by Sunday and Italy must trim their current squad by four in order to make the final 23.
Sala will be hoping to not feel the same rejection he has at club level for his country.
Will Sala go to Israel?
image: © ell-r-brown