Italy hero Manuel Locatelli insists he is NOT undroppable in Roberto Mancini’s side and wants midfield rival Marco Verratti to return from knee problem quickly… even if it means less game time for the new Sassuolo star
New Italy hero Manuel Locatelli wants midfield rival Marco Veratti to return from injury soon, even though it may reduce his game time at Euro 2020 this summer.
The Sassuolo midfielder netted twice in the Azzurri’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland on Wednesday night to continue Italy’s very positive start to the summer tournament, and extending their unbeaten run to 29 matches in all competitions.
Locatelli finished off a fine counter-attacking move from club team-mate Domenico Berardi’s pass before slamming in a wonderful effort from the edge of the box to double Italy’s lead in the second-half.
Manuel Locatelli was Italy’s hero on Wednesday with two goals in the 3-0 win over Switzerland
But the 23-year-old hopes midfield maestro Marco Verratti can return from injury quickly
And after the match, which saw Ciro Immobile grab his second goal of the tournament to register a result-clinching third goal, Locatelli revealed he wants Veratti to return from a knee problem to help Roberto Mancini’s side.
The 23-year-old told RAI Sport: ‘Am I now undroppable? No, I don’t think so. I hope Marco Verratti can return, he is a champion who can make a difference.
‘The coach has to make his choices, all we can do is be ready when called upon.’
Locatelli’s brace included a fine second-half shot from the edge of the box to secure the win
‘We are a fantastic group, I want to stay with my feet on the ground and enjoy the European Championships.
‘The first goal was wonderful, with an assist from Berardi. I dedicate it to my family and my girlfriend. The second is for all Italians, we hope to give other emotions. ‘
PSG midfielder Verratti picked up a knee problem in the final few weeks of the Ligue 1 season and also sat out Italy’s victory over Turkey on Friday night – the opening game of the tournament.
The 28-year-old returned to full training with the Azzurri this week and could feature in their final group game with Wales on Sunday – with qualification to the knockout stages all but secured for Mancini’s men.
Locatelli has embraced the competition in midfield but insists he is not undroppable at present
In the PSG star’s absence, Locatelli has starred for Italy and was presented with the man-of-the-match award after his heroics against Switzerland.
The Sassuolo man, who has been strongly linked with a move to Juventus this summer, praised the atmosphere in the Italy group at the moment.
Locatelli added: ‘I want to share this award with my teammates. I thank them. Let’s continue like this.’
‘I am one of the youngest here, they welcomed me so well and it’s wonderful to be here with them.’