For Sunderland, last season was another frustrating campaign as the club ultimately battled their way to Premier League survival in the final week of the campaign.
Aside from Jermain Defoe's 15 goals, the Black Cats looked desperately short on quality for much of the season, particularly before the January transfer window signings of Jan Kirchhoff, Wahbi Khazri, and Lamine Kone.
However, any Sunderland supporters watching Italy's Euro 2016 clash with Belgium on Monday night may have been surprised to see Wearside represented with a fine individual performance from a player who has become something of an afterthought at the Stadium of Light.
Emanuele Giaccherini has struggled to adapt to English football since his move to the club three years ago, making just 32 Premier League appearances, and has not played for Sunderland competitively since the final game of the 2014-15 season, which was his first action in over three months.
However, he was named in the starting line-up by Antonio Conte for the Azzurri's opener against Belgium and put in an impressive showing, scoring the opening goal with a fine control and finish, and coming close to doubling his tally late on.
The diminutive midfielder looked a classy talent in Lyon, and his display certainly got Sunderland fans talking on Twitter during and after the match.
For some, his goalscoring performance was enough to convince them that the star should be given a chance to force his way back into contention under Sam Allardyce after his loan at Bologna last season.
There has to be a way that we can get Giaccherini playing. #SAFC— Daniel Murray (@InsanityBeard) June 13, 2016
The thing is, Giaccherini played under 4 different managers at #safc Obviously has talent. Never really been given a run of games.— Carl Morris (@Osk86) June 13, 2016
Always rated Giaccherini. Quality footballer. Might be in the minority but hope he stays at #SAFC.— Chris Phillips (@ChrisPhillips_) June 13, 2016
Reckon Big Sam should go in for that Giaccherini in the summer like. Canny player.— Bradley (@Bradley_Safc) June 13, 2016
On Giaccherini, surely if we're serious about this "next level," stuff, we shouldn't be discarding current Italian internationals?#SAFC— Dannygroves (@dpgroves6) June 14, 2016
How Giaccherini can't get a game for us is beyond me, hopefully big Sam gives him a chance #SAFC— Dan Honour (@danhonour81) June 13, 2016
For others though, one bright performance on the international stage was not enough evidence to suggest that things would be any easier for Giaccherini at the Stadium of Light if he was given one last chance to impress next term.
1 good game and every #safc thinks we should keep Giaccherini not cut out for prem get rid..— Luke Pennock (@lukepennock) June 13, 2016
Would you want Altidore back just cos he scores goals and plays well for USA like Giaccherini for Italy? Nah? Thought not #SAFC— Scott (@76skelly) June 14, 2016