Euro 2012 could be a very important stage for Sebastian Giovinco and act as a springboard for his career. Giovinco is now 25 years old, and he started his playing stint with Juventus in 1996 at the age of nine; Juventus have one of the finest teams of the age group.

Arriving at the Bianconeri was natural for a boy born in Turin to southern parents. At Juventus, Giovinco had the opportunity to grow quickly and learn from some of the best in the game. Growing up of course must be used as a metaphor, as the forward is less than 5”5 tall and has a physique which does not fit into the Italian gladiator stereotype.

With Juventus’ youth teams, Giovinco won two successive Viareggio Cups (in 2005 and 2006) and on 12th May, 2007, made his senior side debut in Serie B for the Bianconeri, in a match won against Bologna. The small attack-minded player started life as a trequartista, but can now also play in midfield or behind a traditional centre forward. Speed of thought, vision and superb close control leading to mazy dribbles are Giovinco’s best qualities, while he has always been exceptional at set pieces.

Giovinco went on loan to Empoli in 2007 and made his first Serie A start on 26th August. The forward enjoyed a good campaign with the small team from Tuscany, scoring six goals in 35 games.

In the summer of 2008, the youngster returned to Turin, staying with the Bianconeri for two further years, but never really making good on his obvious promise. Perhaps that is understandable given the troubled nature of Juventus’ 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons, which saw a succession of coaches at the helm, from Claudio Ranieri to Ciro Ferrara and then Alberto Zaccheroni.

Giovinco was keen to exit the Old Lady and declared in August 2010, “if Juventus don’t trust me, I can leave. After two seasons I don’t want to spend another year on the bench. I think I can play in Serie A and I’ve showed what I can do in the past, also here in Turin.” It was then little surprise when Giovinco opted to join Parma that same summer.

In Emilia Romanga another player was soon on display; a star who looked more confident, complete and a real difference-maker.  The 2010/11 season saw Giovinco destroy Juventus with Parma, scoring a brace in Turin, while the ex-Bianconero also helped down his former club at the Tardini Stadium, where he bagged the decisive goal. At Parma, Giovinco played as a trequartista once more, enjoying the freedom to roam in the final third and showing a capacity to score important goals.

Last season was his best yet and Cesare Prandelli’s decision to take the player known as the “Atomic Ant” – his nickname is derived from a cartoon – to Euro 2012 was widely expected. With players such as Giuseppe Rossi out through injury and forwards like Giampaolo Pazzini, Mattia Destro and Alessandro Matri not in the 23-man squad, the tournament in Poland/Ukraine represents a golden opportunity for Giovinco to establish himself as one of the mainstays of the Italian national team.

With the Azzurri, Giovinco can operate in attack alongside Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli or Antonio Di Natale. And in Italy’s Euro 2012 opener, the “Atomic Ant” was brought into the fray as a second half substitute, replacing Cassano.

Euro 2012 can be Giovinco’s stage and the 25-year-old is set to receive more opportunities to make an impact as the tournament progresses. Regardless of how much he is involved though, the forward will have a decision to make about his future this summer. Parma would be delighted to keep Giovinco, but giants Inter and his old club Juventus are lying in wait.

Giovinco does not want to return to Turin to sit on the bench once again – which could happen as Juventus, now Italian champions, have a squad stuffed full of quality. He will have to decide whether to return to one of Italy’s big footballing cities to seek his fortune for a second time and take the next step in his career; otherwise Parma will continue to boast a gem.