Saturday June 15 2019
Barella: 'Huge U21 opportunity'

Nicolò Barella warns the European Under-21 Championship is “a huge opportunity” for hosts Italy and not just because senior-level players are returning.

Their Euros kick off against Spain on Sunday evening in Bologna at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), followed by Poland on June 19 and Belgium on June 22.

“We arrived here with the right mentality to take this huge opportunity,” said the Cagliari midfielder in his Press conference.

Barella is one of several players who have returned to the Under-21 squad after becoming regulars at senior level, some of them not representing the Azzurrini for two years.

“The most important thing is the group dynamic, not individuals. We’re bringing a little more experience, but that is thanks also to the faith that was placed in us by Coaches Gigi Di Biagio and Roberto Mancini.

“We’re a group of players who have known each other for a long time, playing many games at Under-21 level, but yet to win a trophy. We want to make this the right year.

“Everyone is working in the same direction, Italian football is growing at every level and the more results come in, the greater our confidence will be.”

Barella is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Inter for €50m, divided up between cash and a player exchange.

“This tournament is too important to think about anything else. I told everyone they had better just leave me alone to focus during this period.”

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