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Sousa reportedly has short term plan for Rossi to return to competitive action

Pepito isn't long for the bench and we couldn't be happier to hear it

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

We've waited a long time to see Giuseppe Rossi in a competitive match, and it sounds like we're not going to wait much longer. Paulo Sousa has announced his short-term and somewhat less short-term plans for il Fenomeno.

Sousa is crafty as anything, so I don't know why he named Pepito to the bench for the game against AC Milan. Maybe he wanted his star to have a week to see Serie A at pitch level for the first time in nearly two years. Maybe he wanted to give the Fiorentina fans a thrill. Maybe he wanted to give the rossoneri something to think about. Whatever his reasoning, he never intended to put Rossi in the game.

Rossi at 70% is one of the best four or five strikers in Serie

Next week, though, is a different matter entirely. Rossi will start from the bench again, but is expected to play about 30 minutes as a substitute against a rugged Torino defense. We will definitely ... not ... all be holding our collective breath and whispering, "please don't hurt him."

Then, after the international break, we'll finally get to see il Fenomeno start a Serie A game for the first time since January 5th of 2014, when Fiorentina take the field against Genoa. That's the plan anyways. I already have goosebumps thinking about it.

How Rossi will fit into the attack tactically is a different question. Sousa seems to prefer two attackers operating behind a striker - whether they are wingers or trequartisti - and reports are that his first choice trident is Rossi and Josip Ilicic supporting Nikola Kalinic, which will relegate Federico Bernardeschi and Khouma Babacar to supersubs. No matter what sort of setup or formation shows up against Genoa, though, we will have our Pepito back, and that is the best news.