Federico Peluso dedicated his first senior Italy goal to Atalanta and admits he was “pretty anxious at the start.”
The defender rose to nod a corner in the final minutes of their 2-0 win against Malta, though it took a couple of ricochets along the way off the goalkeeper and a defender on the line.
“I definitely touched the ball and then I saw it go in. I’ve no idea what happened between, as I was already celebrating!
“Bergamo is such an important city for my growth and I thank everyone at Atalanta for giving me the chance to reach the Nazionale, as I am certainly here thanks to them and the fans.
“I was pretty anxious at my first start, but the lads and especially the veterans put me at my ease. It’s a night I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Peluso was particularly impressed by Azzurri teammate Lorenzo Insigne, who made his debut this evening.
“Insigne is very talented and a young player with a guaranteed future ahead of him, but he’s not the only one and it shows Italy are rediscovering some great players.”
Peluso was called up for these World Cup qualifiers after Federico Balzaretti’s injury, but could be knocked down the pecking order if Domenico Criscito returns to the Italy fold.
“The decisions are down to the Coach. All I can do is work hard and try to earn my place in the squad.”