Pablo Daniel Osvaldo responded to critics ahead of his senior Italy debut against Northern Ireland. “I feel Italian and hope I'm not a flash in the pan.”
The Roma striker already played for the Azzurri at Under-21 level and was born in Buenos Aires, but moved to Italy as a teenager.
Some have questioned his inclusion in Cesare Prandelli's squad, considering him an ‘Oriundo,' above all the Lega Nord political party.
“I feel Italian and my children are Italian. In football terms, I grew up in Italy and am pleased the Coach called me,” assured Osvaldo in today's Press conference.
“Unlike Mauro German Camoranesi, whose decisions I always respected, I will certainly sing the Italian national anthem if I get to play.
“Some of the criticism is laughable, especially as I am more Italian than some politicians in the Lega Nord. I'd love to play against Argentina one day.
“I am very happy to be here for the first time and am still looking around with an air of disbelief.
“I hope that I am not a flash in the pan, but want to thank Prandelli for his faith in me. It's true I am only here because of an injury crisis, but I still consider it important that the Coach had me in mind.
“Am I looking for a spot in the Euro 2012 squad? It's too early to say, it's just a dream to be here at all.”
Betting on Serie A? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more