Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco takes high road on Italy selection snub

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, right, kicks the ball against New York City FC Stiven Mendoza during the first half of MLS soccer action in Toronto, Wednesday May 18, 2016. Giovinco says he's upset at being left off the Italian team for the European Championship but isn't going to dwell on the omission .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Toronto FC star forward Sebastian Giovinco is taking the high road on his omission from the Italian team for the European Championship.

"I was upset about it, but it's useless to think about," he said through an interpreter after training Wednesday. "I need to keep going and I need to keep improving so I can try and find my place back on the national team."

Giovinco also downplayed Italy coach Antonio Conte's comment that there are consequences to playing in Major League Soccer.

"I've always said and I'll continue to say the league is constantly growing," he said. "Right now I feel like it's one of the most beautiful leagues."

Conte did not select Giovinco or 37-year-old midfielder Andrea Pirlo of New York City FC for his 30-man preliminary squad, which he will cut down to 23 ahead of the June 10-July 10 tournament.

The 29-year-old Giovinco has been called up twice by Italy since coming to North America prior to the start of the 2015 season. He has wasted little time rewriting the MLS and Toronto record books, becoming the face of the league.

The player known as the Atomic Ant is no stranger to Conte, who coached him at Juventus.

In his first public comments on the Italian snub, Giovinco was diplomatic in saying he respected Conte's right to pick his team.

"It can be right, it can be wrong but it's not really my place to say," he said. "I think that he knows what's best."

"And there's really no sense in continuing to talk about it," he added.

That was after question No. 2 on the subject. He got six more.

Asked if he would re-evaluate his future here if playing in MLS continued to impact his international career, Giovinco stayed loyal to the North American league.

"As long as I continue to have fun, I'm going to keep playing in this league."

Giovinco said he was not given an explanation for his omission, saying he got the news "the same way that you learned (it)."

But he said he's always available for the national team. "It's always up to the coach."

Conte is stepping down as Italian coach after the European tournament to take over English club side Chelsea. There is no word yet on his successor with the Azzurri.

Giovinco, who was named MVP and won the Golden Boot as top scorer in MLS last season, has 30 goals and 21 assists in 45 MLS games. This season he is tied for the league lead in goals (eight) and shots (75), and ranks second in assists (five) and shots on goal (26).

The five-foot-four forward, the second-highest paid player in MLS this season at US$7.12 million, has terrorized opposition defenders and goalkeepers with his speed, vision, ability to shoot with both feet, and accuracy from set pieces.

Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman (Belgium), Colorado Rapids forwards Shkelzen Gashi (Albania) and Kevin Doyle (Ireland) and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (Ireland) are headed to Euro 2016.

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