The Pavel Nedved Debate: Is It Time For The Czech Fury To Check Out?
Since his arrival from Lazio in 2001, Pavel Nedved has been a fixture on the Juventus left wing every week.
Despite being advanced in age, he has been one of Juve's better players since their return to Serie A last season as Nedved put off retirement and committed to the Old Lady for one last season this year. It was a move that was applauded by the Juve faithful.
However, they might be rethinking those statements this season.
It seems as though Father Time has caught up with the 36-year old. Having run hundreds upon thousands of miles down the wing, he is not the same kind of player he was three or four years ago when Juventus was at the top of Serie A.
This has been clearly evident this season when, more often than not, Nedved has looked tired and has had a minimal effect on the game. It's also clear that playing almost every minute in the first half of the season has taken its toll on the Czech midfielder.
He has been run out there almost every week and plays the entire 90-plus minutes. Because of this, by the time the game is in crunch time, Nedved goes absent.
So with Nedved struggling to make a significant impact, is it time for manager Claudio Ranieri to finally make a change?
It's no secret that Ranieri prefers his "Old Guard" of vets that have been through the lowest of lows when the club was in Serie B. He clearly prefers those who have been with him his entire two years in Turin.
Two things can be said about the other veterans in Turin: they are contributing, or they are injured.
Neither of those can be said about Nedved.
And this is happening when one of Italy's most talented youngsters, Sebastian Giovinco, sits on the bench week after week without stepping foot on the field.
Giovinco would not only bring speed to the left wing, but he would also bring some creativity to a side that has clearly lacked a spark offensively for the past month. When he's on the field, he's productive — it's that simple.
But week in and week out, we see Nedved and his golden locks out on the left wing.
Looking at Juve's schedule, there is no time to rest unless Ranieri decides to sit him on the bench and give him a rest.
Along with trying to get into the Scudetto race, Juve have their long-awaited matchup with Chelsea in the Champions League, as well as the semifinals of the Coppa Italia against Lazio.
All of this in one month's time.
It's time to give Giovinco a run, don't you think?
But ask any Juve fan about it and they will tell you that if the way Ranieri has handled Giovinco's playing time in the past is any indicator, it will be a huge surprise to see him start from the opening whistle.
Yet, if Juve want to be in the hunt down the stretch, catch Inter Milan, and be competitive in the Champions League and Coppa Italia, it might be time Ranieri goes back to his tinkering ways and give The Atomic Ant a shot.
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