Sensi: “Technical ability is what counts in football”

The team are continuing to prepare for Armenia and Finland matches. The Inter midfielder: “There’s a healthy rivalry with Barella”

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sensi: “Technical ability is what counts in football

When asked about the role he thinks best suits Stefano Sensi, Roberto Mancini highlighted the midfielder’s versatility: “Stefano is capable of playing anywhere and with anyone. He has good technical ability and his game has quality and depth.” These qualities convinced Inter to invest with him, and he was probably the Nerazzurri’s best player on the pitch on Sunday against Cagliari following on from his debut goal against Lecce.

“Having technically-gifted players like Jorginho and Verratti beside you helps,” said the Inter player. I can play where I’m needed. My position is a deep-lying playmaker, but in the modern game you often play different roles in matches. With Conte, I feel really comfortable playing as a mezz-ala in midfield for Inter.”

Among the 18 players to be called up for the first time in the Mancini era, Sensi has only made two appearances for the National Team. However, he’s already got a goal to his name, with this coming in Italy’s six-goal haul against Liechtenstein. Fernando De Argila, his former coach when he was coming through Cesena’s youth ranks, has even compared him to two giants of the game in Xavi and Iniesta: “It’s difficult to make such comparisons because we’re talking about two of the strongest midfielders of all time. I think I have characteristics that are suited to Spanish football, that’s all. I believe that in modern football it’s not so much your physicality that matters, rather your speed of execution and technical ability. I also think a short guy can also have athleticism. This Azzurri side is looking to play on the attack and move the ball around.”

Talent is not measured in centimetres, something that Nicolò Barella also knows. These two are now teammates both at club and international level and are no doubt very useful players, especially for a team that is looking to keep hold of possession: “With Italy, we look to play it around, it’s difficult to keep some players on the bench. Nicolò and I are close friends. It’s clear that we are rivals given that we’re competing for the same position, but this is a healthy rivalry. Nobody should feel unhappy at not playing because the good of the team comes first.”

When asked what Roberto Mancini and his current Coach at Inter have in common: “There are a lot of differences, also because we have less time to work with the National Team. Both having a winning mentality and that’s what counts.” He stated that a joining Inter was a dream come true: “I’m calm about it and ambitious. Everyone believes in me and that helps you work at your best.” At the same time, making the European Championship with his country is an objective for the season that has just begun. It’s therefore vital that Italy take the points up for grabs against Armenia and Finland. “They will be two difficult games because they’re further ahead physically and they’re playing at home. We can’t underestimate our opponents, anything can happen in football. With focus and ruthlessness, we can do big things.”

In the morning, the Azzurri met Director for the CAN A referee list Nicola Rizzoli, who discussed elements of the AIA meeting regarding the new rules enacted by the IFAB with Roberto Mancini and the players. In the afternoon, the team held their second training session at the Niccolò Galli Training Ground in Casteldebole. Sandro Tonali and Vincenzo Grifo joined the group after Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Insigne were forced to withdraw. Tomorrow at 10:00 CEST, the team will leave for Yerevan. On Thursday at 18:00 CEST, Armenia will be the opposition as the Azzurri look to make it five straight wins. The German Siebert will be the referee, while Seidel and Haecker will be his assistants.

Squad list

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Armando Izzo (Torino), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Luca Pellegrini (Cagliari), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan);

Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter), Frello Filho Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Sandro Tonali (Brescia), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain);

Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Shangai Shenhua), Vincenzo Grifo (Friburgo), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Kevin Lasagna (Udinese).

The National Team’s schedule*

Tuesday 3 September
17:30 CEST – Press conference with the players at the Isokinetic Medical Centre in Bologna
18:00 CEST – Training at the Niccolò Galli Training Centre (Casteldebole, behind closed doors)

Wednesday 4 September
10:00 CEST – Flight departs from Bologna to Yerevan
All times below are in local time (+2 in relation to CEST)
18:30 (16:30 CEST) – Press conference with the Coach and one player at the Republican Stadium
19:00 (17:00 CEST) – MD-1 Training at the Republican Stadium (open to the media for the first 15 minutes)

Thursday 5 September
20:00 (18:00 CEST) – Armenia vs. Italy at the Republican Stadium. Meeting with the media after the game and then return to team hotel

Friday 6 September
10:30 (8:30 CEST) – Training at the FFA Academy Training Centre (behind closed doors)
16:40 (14:40 CEST) – Flight departs from Yerevan to Tampere
All times below are in local time (+1 in relation to CET)

Saturday 7 September
17:30 (16:30 CEST) – Press conference with the Coach and one player at the Tampere Stadium
18:00 (17:00 CEST) – MD-1 Training at the Tampere Stadium (open to the media for the first 15 minutes)

Sunday 8 September
21:45 (20:45 CEST) – Finland vs. Italy at the Tampere Stadium. Meeting with the media after the game and then airport transfer
01:15 (00:15 CEST) – Flight departs from Tampere to Malpensa/Rome

*Training and press times in Bologna may be subject to change