U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter praised Gianluca Busio for his recent efforts with Italian club Venezia after leaving Major League Soccer for a club-record move.
Busio moved to Serie A side Venezia on August 9 from Sporting Kansas City for a rumored fee of $6.5m rising to $10.5m in potential add-ons. The midfielder started all 13 of Sporting’s MLS matches before transferring to Italy.
Before moving abroad, Busio appeared in all six USMNT, inspiring the American side to win the Gold Cup and Nations League.
Now, the midfielder is the star of the show in Venezia, starting five Serie A matches as he adapts to life in Italy.
“Man, I love what he’s been doing,” Berhalter said on a virtual press conference on Wednesday. “He’s really been adapting well, you can see he’s a super smart player. I commented that in the Gold Cup, he plays like an older player. That’s what I’m seeing in Serie A at well. He’s not fazed, he’s competing. Just doing a really good job adapting, you can see he’s already important to the team.”
Berhalter recently called up Busio to the USMNT roster for the October round of World Cup qualifiers, an easy decision for the coach. His versatility to play as a No. 6 or in a box-to-box role proves extremely valuable for the American side.
“For us, we see him being able to perform,” Berhalter said. “We won’t hesitate to put him in. We know we need rotation, we know we need people who can start the game and also make an impact coming off the bench. We think he’s going to be a contributor this camp.”
The round of qualifiers kicks off with the match against Jamaica on October 7, followed by Panama and Costa Rica.
The USMNT stands in third place of the table with five points in three matches after a slow start saw the American team win once and draw twice.