Manolo Gabbiadini admits “I can’t say that I don’t think about going back” to Italy and that “I didn’t think I’d become a professional footballer.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Gianluca Di Marzio’s website, Gabbiadini also expressed his happiness with life at Southampton and playing in Premier League, as well as giving an insight into his humble beginnings – and passion for Netflix.
“My English was bad at first, but it all becomes easier when you score and everyone’s helped me a lot,” began the striker.
“I’m feeling good at Southampton, as do my wife Martina and son Tommaso. Ooviously there have been some changes compared to Naples.
“There was life... Neapolitan life, around-the-clock, walking on the seafront. Here in England, it’s colder so we feel much more at home.
“TV series with the family? No because we always have little time, so we prefer to watch movies.
“When I’m with the national team, however, there’s Netflix… Suburra [a TV series]? Not before I finish the third season of Narcos.
“Fantasy football? I’ve never played it, I don’t like it. There’s no Italian obsession for fantasy football in England.
“Social media? It doesn’t matter to me. What’s written on a keyboard doesn’t faze me. I prefer things to be said to my face.
“My debut for Atalanta in 2010? The very next day, I was in the workshop with my uncle.
“I used to work for four hours in the morning and still didn’t think that I’d become a professional footballer. He told me to go away, things like ‘what are you doing here?’
“I realised later that I’d become a pro, when you drop into Serie B and notice that you go back to A.
“Bologna? When I’m in town and they play at home, I happily go to watch them. Being Italian, I can’t say that I don’t think about going back.
“I don’t see a World Cup without Italy, there can’t be no Italy in my World Cup.
“Me and the two Irishmen [Shane Long and Steven Davis] got together before the draw. Since none of us are facing each other [in the playoffs], we hope to find ourselves in Russia together.
“Long? He’s a great person and worker. He’s generous and he takes on so much. Boufal also does great things in training but still needs to adapt to the aggression of English football.
“English football instinctively invites you to never give up. Everybody runs. How I see the title race? I’ll say Manchester City are the favourites for now, but we’ll see. I don’t see United doing that well on the pitch, but Conte will fight until the end.
“He doesn’t single out anyone, and I really like that style [of management].”
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk