Saturday September 5 2015
Verratti: 'Pirlo is first choice'

Marco Verratti isn’t pushing through a generational shift for Italy. “Andrea Pirlo must be first choice in midfield.”

They made a rare start together in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Malta, but there are reports one or even both could be benched against Bulgaria tomorrow night.

“I get along well with Pirlo. He plays in a deeper role and constructs the play, while I move closer to the opposition goal,” the Paris Saint-Germain talent told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Pirlo must be the first choice in midfield, then we’ll see about the rest. When he decides to retire, then we’ll think about how to replace him.

“I have played in every midfield role and have no problems, but the most important thing is that Pirlo carries on for as long as possible.”

Verratti had struggled for Azzurri playing time under Antonio Conte initially.

“Over the last year both I and Conte have changed. We know each other better and he changed his view of me.”

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