Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini talks to UEFA.com about the growing family vibe in the Azzurrini camp, semi-final opponents Spain and how Paul Pogba "gets you off your seat".
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Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini sat down with UEFA.com to discuss the Azzurrini's run to the U21 EURO semi-finals as well as the players he admires most.
Having reached the semi-finals, how important would you say this EURO has been for your personal development?
Very important, because there are some really good players here. Going up against other players from different countries at European level is always important for the development of a young guy like me. I think it's the best thing you can do.
What would winning the tournament mean to you?
It's always nice to win, right? But I think that to do so with this team and this group of players would be exceptional – and I think you can see that every time we play we're becoming more of a family than anything else.
You've got Spain up next – have you been impressed by them?
We played against Spain in March, so I remember them very well. They have some great players, like Marco Asensio and Saúl Ñíguez, so we know that they're a top side, and they breezed through their group. However, anything can happen in a knockout game.
Have you been able to watch any other matches so far? Is there a player in particular that has caught your eye?
Asensio is the player that everyone is looking out for. He has just won the Champions League and plays for probably the best team in the world, so it's understandable that he's the centre of attention. If I had to pick out a player, I'd choose him. But just as Spain have great players, so do we.
You've already made your debut for the senior side – is there anyone in that squad that you have a close relationship with?
Daniele [De Rossi]; he knows I hold him in very high regard. I spoke to him after my debut. He asked me how everything was here, if things were going OK. And there's also Federico Bernardeschi, who in my eyes is more like a first-team player that has joined us here.
Apart from De Rossi, who are your favourite midfielders?
I like a lot of different players, and it's not always because I see myself in them. I really like De Rossi, just as I like [Paul] Pogba. I love watching him play because I think his ability is unbelievable and he gets you off your seat when you're watching him. If I had to pick out two, I'd say those two.