Alberto Gilardino is delighted to get the chance to captain Italy when they face Ukraine in Kiev on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old will lead the line alongside Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi.
"Wearing the captain's armband tomorrow is a great present that the national team has given me," Gilardino smiled.
"It's a great honour when one thinks about the many great Italy captains, from Fabio Cannavaro to Gigi Buffon."
Asked about the time he has recently spent on the bench for Italy, he said: "There isn't any rivalry here, if anything there is a lot of competition and I believe that this is a good thing for me, for my teammates and for Italy.
"This year, at the beginning of the season, I had injury problems but now I am fine and I have a lot of desire to finish the year well.
"Among other things Cesare Prandelli knows me well, so he knows what I can give. If he needs me, I'll be there."