A TEENAGER is excited after being signed up to play football in Italy.

Rocco Violetta, 15, is moving to Rome with his family from their home in Stockton in three weeks.

Rocco, whose mother, Rosanna, is half-Italian, was snapped up in August by ASD Savio, a youth team in Rome which is a feeder team for top Italian football clubs. He has signed a two-year deal.

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Manchester United player Federico Macheda started his football career at the same club.

Rocco, a pupil of Polam Hall School, Darlington, started playing football five years ago and has spent four seasons at Leven AFC, a youth club in Yarm, scoring 129 goals.

He said: “It’s a bit scary moving to a foreign country and I’ll miss my friends, but I’m excited about the move as it’s such a great opportunity. I want to be a successful player with a long career in football.”

His impending arrival in Rome hasn’t gone unnoticed among the big clubs. Apparently a scout from Serie A club Fiorentina is keen to take a look at Rocco when he starts playing.

Dan Fowler, Leven AFC Under-15s manager, said: “The first time I saw Rocco play at the age of 11 I knew I had to sign him to Leven. Since then, I have watched him grow into a promising young man who possesses all of the qualities to go far in life in whatever he chooses to do.

“He is Leven’s all-time record goal scorer and he will not be forgotton by anybody at our club.”

Rocco’s father, Nigel Wanless, thinks his son has got what it takes to get to the top.

He said: “I employed a sports agent in Italy last year. He had a trial for AS Roma in 2010, but they told him he should come back in a few years.

“In the meantime I contacted a freelance coach called Sergio Peretti, who has coached some top names like Massimo Maccarone and Boudewijn Zenden, and he gave him three months training over the summer. Since he trained him, he has really transformed his confidence, his athletic ability, everything.”

Rocco is expected to start training three days a week at ASD Savio from the middle of next month. He will attend an Italian-speaking school but will also have an Italian and English tutor, and will continue to study for his GCSEs online.