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Edoardo Bove on fulfilling a childhood dream at Roma, and steering his side to the UEFA Europa League final – interview

"I've only just started," says Roma's 20-year-old local hero as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his career, the UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla.

 Edoardo Bove: Living the dream at Roma
Edoardo Bove: Living the dream at Roma UEFA via Getty Images

Roma's recent successes in continental football have been achieved with the help of plenty of established international talent, not least coach José Mourinho, but as 20-year-old Edoardo Bove scored what proved to be the crucial goal in their semi-final success, there was evidence that there was proof that local talent could still thrive at the Stadio Olimpico.

In his third season in Serie A, the midfielder is impressing with his skill and work ethic; Mourinho playfully called him a "sick dog" for his willingness to cover ground for the team. The lifelong Roma fan now has the opportunity to sparkle in a major final as his side take on Sevilla in Budapest.

Watch highlights
Sevilla vs Roma: Final latest

On his first steps in football

Ever since I was very young, I was really into sports in general, especially ball games. I used to play tennis pretty regularly when I was a boy, and for about five or six years I played both tennis and football. At some point I had to make a choice, even though I was pretty good at both. Seeing how far I've come, I guess I made the right choice in the end.

How did it feel when I first came to play for Roma's youth teams? It's always hard to explain those feelings: it's like trying to explain the feeling of scoring a goal at the [Stadio] Olimpico, or getting your first call from the club. They are very strong emotions. On the whole, most people usually reply to that question by saying it is an 'indescribable emotion'. But it really is like that. In the beginning, the most important thing for me was having fun. Then as you grow and develop, you start to understand the significance of playing for Roma, and you really start to feel like a part of this club.

Bove: 'I understand what playing for Roma means'

On becoming a regular starter under José Mourinho

This is a starting point. I've only just started and that's why I want to keep going like this and to keep playing well. I have to be grateful for the trust they have in me at the moment, and this is the most important thing. I'm very happy about it.

[Mourinho] is a special person to me because he is a true person. He treats the rest of the team just like he treats me, and this is the most important thing. If he has something to say to you, he will tell it straight to your face, and I prefer people like this. So I got on well with him right from the start. Of course he has also helped me to grow. All his guidance has helped me so much and I'm happy for the faith he has in me.

Road to the final: All Roma's goals

On his crucial semi-final goal against Leverkusen

The goal against Leverkusen [was] the culmination of all the work I have put in here over the last two years with the coach, the staff, with Roma. Perhaps [my] first few goals were instinctive: the typical goals of a young, inexperienced player. But you have to work hard in training to pull off certain elements of your game, and when you manage to do that on the field, it is really fantastic.

How did it feel when I saw the ball hit the net? Questions like these are difficult to answer because everything happens so quickly. In that moment, everything's a blur.

Highlights: Roma 1-0 Leverkusen

On the final against Sevilla

I expect a proper final, because throughout the year we have deserved to be there so we are very happy about it. They deserve it too. Sevilla have come from the Champions League, so they deserve their place in the final even more. That's why we're very happy and we're delighted for the fans too.

How would it feel to win? It would be beautiful, just like it would be beautiful to win any final. A final is a different kind of match altogether. No question.

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