Emanuele Giaccherini believes that Italy's warm-up loss to Russia will only stand them in good stead when their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign gets under way against Spain on Sunday. "It has triggered a desire in us players to prove people wrong," he explained.
Italy have spent the last week working on various tactical formations in order to arrest a run of defeats that culminated in Friday's 3-0 reverse at the hands of Russia, and with the 3-5-2 formation a likely alternative to Cesare Prandelli's customary 4-3-1-2, the energetic Juventus winger has emerged as a strong candidate for a starting berth against the reigning champions.
"I have played wing-back in a five-man midfield in the past," said the Juventus winger. "It's a role in which you must work very hard and do a lot of running, but I have the physical and technical characteristics to play there if required."
Giaccherini's inclusion in Italy's 32-man provisional squad raised a few eyebrows as the midfielder had yet to win an international cap – and he is still awaiting his first. Moreover, the 27-year-old has spent four of the last eight seasons being farmed out on loan from Cesena Calcio to lower-tier clubs AC Bellaria Igea Marina, Forli FC and AC Pavia.
Yet now he is a title winner after a successful first season with Juventus and, having made Prandelli's final 23, is just three days away from potentially making his Italy debut under the gaze of the watching world.
"I would happily take the same career path again," he said. "I have learned a lot playing for those clubs and, if I'm here now, it's because I've had a lot of tough experiences which I've had to overcome. I've always bounced back with desire and determination."
Now, the man nicknamed Gaccherinho by Juve coach Antonio Conte is convinced Italy can also rebound from the three friendly losses that have made for an inauspicious build-up to their opening Group C encounter. "I think that the defeat by Russia has been a good thing for two reasons. Firstly we are not carrying the tag of favourites, and secondly it has triggered the desire in us players to work that much harder to prove people wrong."
He should know.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.