Monday November 26 2018
SES: ‘Expected Italy call’

Stephan El Shaarawy admits “it hurts” not to have been called-up by Italy after his good start to the season for Roma.

The 26-year-old has five goals and two assists so far this season, but he hasn’t played for his country since last year and has never been called-up by Roberto Mancini.

“I didn’t expect it, it hurts,” El Shaarawy admitted, speaking to AS.

“I’ve almost always been part of the Azzurri group. I’ll try to earn a call next time by working even harder.

“I really like the new Italy, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the national team play like that.”

The Giallorossi face Real Madrid tomorrow, and El Shaarawy previewed the match.

“Madrid are Madrid, we know their strength. It’ll be a difficult game, but we’ll play with determination because qualifying is crucial.

“Playing a good game would give us greater awareness of our strength, we’ve already done that against Chelsea and Barcelona.

“In the first leg we came into it with a bit of fear, they took advantage of it and had many opportunities beyond the goals they scored.

“Their form? With the quality they have it’s difficult to have such a bad run of results, but it’s still Real Madrid: they have great players, their strength is not in question.

“Maybe something was missing on a mental level and [Santiago] Solari improved it.”

The forward was also asked about playing with Francesco Totti.

“He was one of the few people I was initially shy about talking to,” El Shaarawy confirmed.

“You got the feeling of being near to a legend, it was an honour.”

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