Monday September 3 2012
Insigne: Cassano? No, Del Piero!

Lorenzo Insigne insists he’s not aiming to replace Antonio Cassano in the Italian national team. “Alessandro Del Piero is my idol.”

The Napoli youngster has been included in the full Italy squad for the first time at the expense of the Inter forward.

“I’m not like Antonio,” the Under-21 international stated from the Azzurri’s Coverciano training base on Monday. “He is a champion, while I am a young player who has it all to prove.

“He’s a really strong player, but I don’t aspire to be like him. I look up to [Juventus idol] Del Piero. As a kid I watched all of his goals and I’d love to ‘steal’ his curling shots.”

Insigne caught the eye in Italy last season during a loan spell with Pescara in Serie B under the tutelage of Zdenek Zeman. He then returned to parent club Napoli.

“I think I did well with Zeman last year and then again with Napoli in pre-season. If I’m here then I will have to thank Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri.

“They are two very different Coaches as you can see from the style of their teams. I was used more as a wide attacker by Zeman, but with Mazzarri I’m fielded as a second striker.

“I spoke with Napoli before pre-season. I knew that I would be on trial in the sense that I didn’t know whether I would remain. I worked hard every day in the hope that I would realise my dream of staying.”

Insigne was confirmed in the Italy squad on Sunday, although his omission from Devis Mangia’s Under-21 party on Thursday suggested that the forward would be included by Prandelli.

“I didn’t expect it,” he continued. “I didn’t believe it when I was told that I was in. I then went home, turned the TV on and understood that it was all true.

“Saying that, I did think it was odd that I wasn’t called up by Mangia for the Under-21s…”

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