Emanuele Giaccherini has rediscovered his enthusiasm for the Italian national team despite his recent injury, and showed up at Coverciano for a visit on Tuesday notwithstanding the brace he still wore on his left leg. “I have to wear it for two more weeks still,” he explained ruefully in an exclusive interview conducted by Cristina Guerri of TuttoMercatoWeb.com. “It’s too bad, because I was really doing well.”
How much longer till you will return to the pitch?
“Until November. Next week I’ll go back to Newcastle to start physical rehab. A bit on the bike, some swimming, and then we’ll see how things are going. It’s a shame, I was just getting back into good form. After a year of adapting to the Premier League I’m ready to give my best to Sunderland, anyway.
Your visit to Coverciano is just the latest sign of a national team ever more united and close-knit.
“Yes, I stayed with my teammates for two or three hours. It was really a pleasure to see everyone, especially since, living in England, I don’t get a chance to visit often.”
Did you talk with the Juventus players about their much-discussed game against Roma?
“The whole group is calm, and as Conte says, when you come through the gates of Coverciano you only think about the Nazionale.”
And what is your take on Juve-Roma?
“There wasn’t a visible difference between the two teams. Juve and Roma will both fight just as hard for the Scudetto until the very end of the season. The match could have gone either way. It was very intense, a great game.”
Do you notice any significant differences from Conte’s Juve?
“On a tactical level, I see the defense being much higher. Also there is more physicality on the pitch.”
You who have grasped how to win Conte over – what advice would you give to Balotelli, who has so far been excluded from the new CT’s plans?
“Conte wants players who are willing to sacrifice. He doesn’t focus on the individual, he thinks about the group. He appreciates the mentality of those who work hard every day to achieve a possibility. Mario is a terrific player, but he could use a bit more desire, more hunger.”
The same hunger that Pellè has shown?
“Exactly. He’s been scoring lots of goals for years, now he’s being repaid for all his hard work and sacrifice.”