Wednesday June 14 2017
Di Francesco: ‘Called De Rossi first’

New Roma Coach Eusebio Di Francesco emphasises the importance of Daniele De Rossi - “he was the first person I called”.

The veteran midfielder has been with the Giallorossi for his whole career, and will be captain for the coming season after Francesco Totti’s departure.

“The first person I called was De Rossi,” Di Francesco revealed in his presentation Press conference.

“He knows the sense of belonging. My son [Federico] who plays for Bologna says De Rossi is his idol, because he’s the first to celebrate if a teammate scores, that’s an image we have to take as our example.

“We know Daniele’s worth, he’ll be a reference point for the team beyond whether he plays or not. Everyone will have their chances.”

Di Francesco was asked how members of the squad would fit into his 4-3-3, and was noncommittal on the future of Bruno Peres.

“He might have some difficulties. Bruno Peres has often played in a back-five, so if he’s to play in a back-four he has to improve.

“I’ll keep him in great consideration though, I’ll evaluate him in the pre-season training camp.

“[Leandro] Paredes can play in the middle of the 4-3-3. [Kevin] Strootman is a great midfielder, after his injury he’s become a sort of captain on the pitch. He can play as a mezzala [outside central-midfielder].

“[Radja] Nainggolan is capable of scoring 18 goals as a mezzala, even if he has to play laterally in a co-ordinated system of play.

“He could get more involved, and then there’s the situational intelligence and understanding when to change the dynamics, even during a game.

“I was chosen to play a certain style of football, and it’s right that I transfer my ideas of football to the players.

“Lorenzo Pellegrini? Pellegrini is a great player, the club is working to bring him [back] and he’s had a great path of growth. He’s impressive.”

It’s still not clear if Francesco Totti will take up his role as a director, or if Er Pupone will play on elsewhere…

“The club has talked with Totti and soon he’ll have to give a response,” Di Francesco, a former teammate of the Roma legend, replied.

“I have a special relationship with him, he’s big enough to choose the role he wants and I want to keep working together.”

Di Francesco was also asked about the Stadio della Roma, the new stadium the club is hoping to build and own.

“It’s a positive value with unbelievable potential. It would allow us to have the fans closer to us, and in future to remain among the top European clubs.

“The will to have a stadium of our own is unequivocal, I’m convinced we’ll have it and I hope to be here for the opening."

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