Euro 2016 qualifiers

German-born Soriano awaits dream Italy debut

German-born Soriano awaits dream Italy debut
German-born Sampdoria midfielder Roberto Soriano is looking forward to his debut with Italy. Photo: Steve Chiefa
German-born Sampdoria midfielder Roberto Soriano confirmed his full allegiance to Italy on Tuesday as he prepares for a possible Azzurri debut against Croatia in a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier.

Soriano, who has been one of the revelations of a high-flying Sampdoria team this season, started his youth career with Bayern Munich after being born in Germany to Italian parents.

But the 23-year-old told reporters at Italy's Coverciano training base on Tuesday: "I'm happy to be among the squad, it's a dream come true. I was born in Germany but I've always felt Italian.

"For every young Italian player it's a dream to pull on the blue jersey."

Come next January, Soriano could be swapping another blue jersey, that of Sampdoria, for the white, black and orange of Valencia.

Recent reports said the La Liga side have been watching Soriano's progress closely and could table an offer in the January transfer window.

For now, Soriano said he is fully focused on Sunday's crucial Group H clash against the table-topping Croatians, who like Italy remain unbeaten after three opening qualifiers.

Italy host Albania in a friendly in Genoa on Tuesday, where the match proceeds will go to the flood-stricken city. In recent weeks players from both Sampdoria and Genoa have lent a helping hand in trouble zones in a bid to boost morale.

Although Soriano and fellow-Italy squad debutant Andrea Bertolacci (Genoa) are hoping to lift spirits on Tuesday, their focus is fully on Croatia.

"Genoa is like my city. It's normal that we're a little worried about what's happened there," added Soriano.

"But we're here to prepare for Sunday's game. On Tuesday we will try give what we can and offer a great show for those who have lost so much."

Bertolacci said: "The important game is Sunday. Tuesday should be a celebration. It's a tough period for Genoa right now. The rain is still coming down, I hope the fans will turn out to see us."

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