Alessandro Florenzi is able to play both on the wing and in a more central attacking midfield position, possessing an eye for goal that has seen him score six goals despite making the large majority of his 20 Serie A appearances from the bench.
The 23-year-old first broke into the Roma set-up after being promoted from the Giallorossi’s youth ranks to make his debut in May 2011. A Roma fan growing up, Florenzi’s first appearance was also notable, the youngster coming on as a substitute for captain Francesco Totti.
The Roman-born winger broke into the Azzurri squad in much the same manner, making his Italy U-21 debut in September 2011 and scoring his first goal exactly a month later in a 7-2 victory over Liechtenstein.
After impressing for the U-21s, Florenzi made his full Azzurri debut in November 2012 and scored his first goal a year later against Armenia in October 2013.
Skilful and direct, Florenzi’s style of play offers Cesare Prandelli dynamism in an area where Italy has typically struggled to find quality - in wide positions.
While Torino star Alessio Cerci is heavily favoured to receive a World Cup call-up, the Azzurri arguably don’t have a player with Florenzi’s skill set. His additional ability to play multiple positions could also offer value as an auxiliary attacking threat.
In terms of players that could rival Florenzi for a space in the Azzurri squad, Prandelli must decide between a list that includes the aforementioned Cerci, Lazio’s Antonio Candreva, Napoli starlet Lorenzo Insigne and outside bets Stephan El Shaarawy and Giacomo Bonaventura as well.
Veteran Antonio Cassano could also be in with a call-up, the 31-year-old’s sparkling form for Parma this season has the former Sampdoria, Inter and Milan forward right in contention for an Azzurri spot too.
In light of the competition Florenzi’s chances appear slim, but a recent report from Gazzetta dello Sport indicates that Prandelli is considering a ‘plan B’ if Mario Balotelli isn’t selected for the national team, which includes playing Antonio Cassano as a false nine forward in the Milan forward’s stead.
While it may not appear that the news affects the midfielder directly, one more spot could open in Balotelli’s absence that allows for another player to be taken - a spot that could occupied by Florenzi.
Despite Florenzi’s rotatory role as part of a talented attacking group at Roma, the 23-year-old has registered six goals and six assists from just six starts, 14 appearances as a substitute.
With the young Azzurro hopeful building a growing reputation as a ‘super sub’ in the Italian capital, the Giallorosso talent is counting on that translating to a spot on the plane to Brazil.
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