Tuesday June 10 2014
Marchisio: 'Darmian a surprise'

Claudio Marchisio is “really impressed” with Matteo Darmian, congratulated Mario Balotelli and Gigi Buffon.

Torino right-back Darmian is turning out to be a surprise package in the Azzurri squad and could start on Saturday night against England.

“He really impressed me in his first game against Ireland,” said Marchisio in a Press conference.

“He had a great season with Torino, as did Alessio Cerci, and I was struck by his character. He had never played with us in the qualifiers, but presented himself in great shape in his first start.

“Darmian is certainly an excellent player for us and we’ll see what happens in this World Cup.”

Balotelli was greeted at the training ground with a round of applause today after announcing his engagement to girlfriend Fanny Neguesha.

“You saw this morning, we applauded Mario and embraced him. How was his night? I don’t know, that’s his business. It’s certainly good news and now it’s important that we all focus on the World Cup.”

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is once again a key figure in the Italy locker room, confirmed Marchisio.

“The years pass, but Gigi always has the same hunger. He is our captain at Italy and Juventus, but he’s also my friend and someone who can always come out with the right thing at the right time to shake up this team.

“Buffon is a definite reference point for us.”

Marcello Lippi confessed today that returning to the Italy bench for the 2010 World Cup was a “huge mistake,” one that Marchisio took part in.

“Those were decisions the Coach made. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very fortunate expedition for us, but those of us who took part have put it behind us and want to focus only on this tournament.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with