Wednesday February 6 2013
Verratti: 'My first Italy goal'

Marco Verratti thanked Alberto Gilardino for the assist and explained why he wore shirt Number 2 for his debut Italy goal.

“I am very happy, above all as we were able to get back on track. Of course I’m also happy with my first Italy goal,” he said after scoring a last-gasp equaliser in Italy’s 1-1 draw with Holland.

“We went very close in the last 20 minutes and I think the draw was the right result for this game.

“Gila called for the ball and he’s very good at protecting it, so I immediately gave it to him. I thank him for helping me to score this goal.”

Verratti came off the bench, but was asked if he would push into the starting XI soon.

“I don’t think about these things, as being 19 I am more than happy to just be in this squad. We are together for very little time to prepare for friendlies, so we try to give our all whether it’s a qualifier or a friendly. We were unlucky to lose to England and France.”

Coach Cesare Prandelli pointed out Verratti needs to stop going into the sliding tackle in midfield.

“He’s not the first to tell me that I mustn’t go into a sliding tackle! That suggests I really do need to improve on that aspect of my game.

“It was very slippery in Amsterdam and I even saw the goalkeeper fall over, which is a sign the pitch isn’t in great shape.”

Italy started the game with a 4-3-3 system, then switched to a 4-3-1-2 and improved considerably.

“I am happy in a three-man midfield, so they are fairly similar tactics. I try to adapt, but I fit into both a 4-3-3 and a 4-3-1-2.”

Verratti admitted he’d love to one day play alongside Andrea Pirlo rather than be his substitute.

“Obviously, every boy dreams of playing alongside Pirlo. We have the same role and he is a great champion, but I also know it is unlikely to happen.”

The former Pescara starlet was poached by Paris Saint-Germain over the summer and is impressing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

“I am very happy in France in a team with many champions. Of course it is my dream to play in Serie A, as I have never managed that, but I am growing up in Paris and it is a good experience for my career.”

There was a curious element to this game, as Verratti wore shirt Number 2.

“I was inspired by Mohamed Kallon! I remembered he was a striker who played with Number 2 and seeing as I change number so often, I thought I’d go for 2 this time.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with