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COMMENT: Is it time for Sassuolo's Valeri to leave Italy?

Australian national team midfielder Carl Valeri is in between a rock and a hard place. The 26-year old is at a stage of his career where he needs to be playing regularly at club level but so far, in seven Italian Serie B matches with Sassuolo, has managed less than half an hour of game time. This from a man who managed all but 25 minutes for the Socceroos at the recent World Cup.

It is difficult to understand how a player who can regularly start for the 24th ranked nation in the world cannot buy minutes in Italy's second tier.

Obviously, former Sassuolo manager Stefano Pioli was not a fan of the defensive midfielder despite signing him permanently from Grosseto after a successful loan deal but things did not change under Daniele Arrigoni who was Pioli's replacement.

Now, with a new manager in the way of Angelo Gregucci, it is time that Valeri is given a proper chance to prove himself for the club.

But if he is left on the bench or even worse, out of the Sassuolo match day squad altogether, then maybe he is better off looking elsewhere.

Just over a week ago, Valeri was in Sydney preparing for Australia's friendly with Paraguay and said he was hoping to be given more game time otherwise things may have to change.

"It has been a tough start and not what I expected coming off what was a positive World Cup for me," Valeri said. "Sometimes you are just not in the coach's plans and you can do everything you can to be part of the plans, but it just doesn't work out.

"It was a tough situation. The coach didn't pick the players. They were given to him by the directors. He had his plans and he stuck to them to the end.

"So a new coach is coming in and let's hope things change."

Valeri could easily make an impression in England, perhaps with a Championship club for starters, before making his way into the Premier League and really following in the footsteps of the man he has been compared with for much of his career, Blackburn Rovers' Vince Grella.

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