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Zaniolo Makes Azzurri Debut

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It may have only been a cameo, but it could be the first of many for Roma’s wunderkind.

Italy v Finland - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

As Italy continues to make the transition from old grizzled warriors like Daniele De Rossi and Gianluigi Buffon to the freshness of talented youngsters, a few teens made their first appearances in azzurro on Saturday. While Moise Kean may have been the 19 year old that stole the show in Udine, he wasn’t the only one who made his debut on the day. Also, making his debut, was Roma teenager Nicolò Zaniolo.

The youngster, who has gradually become one of the Giallorossi’s most indispensable players over the course of the 2018/19, came on for Marco Verratti in the 85th minute. It was a short cameo for Zaniolo, but it was a signal of intent from Italy CT Roberto Mancini. Mancini fielded a line-up with plenty of youngsters, but his faith in Kean and Zaniolo speaks to their talent and potential. After the match, Zaniolo spoke to Rai about his debut.

“Making my national team debut is a dream I had as a child that I realized this splendid evening. I have to keep working and not let it get to my head.

“I have to improve in all aspects - Zaniolo continued -, but sometimes I have to think first about the play to make and improve with my weak foot. I can play either in the middle or in the midfield or outside. I’ll play where the coach wants. The coach has given us confidence and it is a great thing. When we line up we try to do our best, he asks us to do our best and defend forward. “

After speaking about the debut, Zaniolo spoke on rumors of him moving on from Roma in the next mercato; something he brushed aside.

“Right now I’m on the national team and I represent Italy. I don’t think about market rumors, my goal is to close this break for the national team well with Lichtenstein and then make the Champions League with Roma.”

With talks of an extension in the works for Zaniolo, we can only hope that he will grow into one of faces of La Nazionale while representing Roma. However, whether his future is in Rome or elsewhere, one would think this is just one of many matches where we will see Zaniolo and Kean representing a resurgent Italy side.