Giaccherini eyes Italy return

INTERNATIONAL HOPE: Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini hopes to force his way back into the Italy squad, despite being left out of the World Cup

INTERNATIONAL HOPE: Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini hopes to force his way back into the Italy squad, despite being left out of the World Cup

First published in Sport

SUNDERLAND midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini is confident he can regain his place in the Italy team despite missing out on a place at the World Cup.

Giaccherini won't be involved in Italy’s opener against England tomorrow night. Despite being included in Cesare Prandelli’s original 30-man squad, the attacker was cut when the group was whittled down to 23.

The 29-year-old was part of the squad throughout qualification, but the form of Fabio Borini, Connor Wickham and Adam Johnson meant he struggled to nail down a regular place in Gus Poyet’s starting XI.

Giaccherini’s peripheral role has prompted speculation he could return to his homeland despite only arriving on Wearside from Juventus 12 months ago.

Napoli are one of a host of Serie A clubs willing to offer Giaccherini an escape route, but he has indicated he is happy at Sunderland.

He could be given a greater role depending on movement in and out of the Stadium of Light with the Black Cats ready to offload Adam Johnson if a suitable offer arrives.

Both Everton and Liverpool are monitoring the winger’s situation, and a move could open the door for Giaccherini, who admits he is desperate to be part of his national team again.

“I was getting called-up into the national team until March,” said Giaccherini. “It’s normal that I expected to be in Prandelli’s 30 but the boss made his assessments and I always thank him for what he has done for me.

“I’m a bit disappointed because everyone wants to play in the World Cup but even though I won’t be on the pitch I will cheer for Italy and always support the Azzurri.

“I hope to get back into the national team, for me it’s an honour.”

Italy meet England in Manaus tomorrow night in a game Giaccherini will believes will be won in midfield.

Andrea Pirlo has been highlighted as the Azzurri’s danger man, but the Sunderland midfielder believes the Three Lions will have to watch out for Ciro Immobile, who scored a hat-trick in their 5-3 warm-up win against Fluminense.

He said: “It will be a great match because it is two strong teams going head-to-head. I hope that Italy win against England because it’s a crucial task to start this World Cup well.

“I think Prandelli will put the best possible selection out, the match will be won in midfield. Immobile could be a surprise because he looks good physically and he is playing at his best.

“Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain are the favourites but anything is possible because there are lots of important and strong teams. France, Italy and England are just behind.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have appointed former Carlisle United coach Chris Blake as their new Under-21 performance analyst.

The 27-year-old will work with Kevin Ball’s development side and the other academy teams, monitoring and analysing player performance data.

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