Parma midfielder Marco Parolo is hoping to play for Italy against Germany and reveals “Steven Gerrard always inspired me.”
The 28-year-old received a call-up from Coach Cesare Prandelli after scoring five goals and providing two assists in 12 Serie A games this season.
“Gerrard always inspired me and I think he was the reference point for every midfielder of my generation,” Parolo told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Of today’s players, I’d say Arturo Vidal more than Paul Pogba, even if the Frenchman is destined to become a world class player.”
This is not his first call-up, as Parolo was already given a run in the Azzurri side three years ago and one cap in a 2-0 win over Ukraine.
“I will do everything I can to stay here. The competition is fierce, but if I am able to keep up this form for a whole season, then I can fight for my place.
“I had lost my belief after Cesena’s relegation, but rediscovered it at Parma thanks to Roberto Donadoni, the club and my extraordinary teammates.
“My old Cesena teammate Emanuele Giaccherini is now helping me settle in to the Azzurri squad. He is my friend and over the years got what he deserved. I knew he’d have made his mark at Juventus too.”
Parolo is already looking to the future and the next step in his career beyond the Stadio Tardini.
“Of course there is still the ambition of joining a big club, but it’s only possible through a great year with Parma. At the moment, there is only the present and we can do great things at Parma, even close on the Europa League zone.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition  - £11,000 to be won monthly!