Stephan El Shaarawy is enjoying his partnership with Mario Balotelli at club and international level, as “we represent the Nazionale of youth.”
The striker’s goals have somewhat dried up since he was paired with SuperMario for Milan and Italy, but he insists there’s more to his game than that.
“I don’t feel that I miss scoring goals,” said the Little Pharaoh. “Both Cesare Prandelli and Massimiliano Allegri tell me the prerogative is to play well. The performance is more important than the goal.
“I get on well with Balotelli and I’m pleased that he is doing so well. I am by his side practically all the time and can really tell he is more mature, both as a player and a man. He can become one of the top three players in the world.”
El Shaarawy is only 20 while Balotelli is 22, so they are symbols of Prandelli’s new Azzurri era.
“We represent the Nazionale of youth, a new team that focuses on young players. Investing in youth is the most important thing.
“I’m happy that we are doing well, but also aware we can do so much better to make Italy even greater. Prandelli asks me the same things that Allegri does in a 4-3-3, where I can play wide left.”
Italy face Malta in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday evening.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.