Southampton star wants international recognition: I deserve it

Graziano Pelle wants to be involved in the Italy national football team.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle, who has returned four goals from six Premier League appearances, is putting his hands together to pray to the footballing Gods that the Azzurri recognise how much he has flourished since leaving Italy to compete at Feyenoord and now at St Mary's Stadium.

The 29-year-old is a late-bloomer. Having represented Lecce, AZ and Parma on a permanent basis, it was only in the Eredivisie - aged 28 - where he found his feet… and now he has replicated his Feyenoord form in the Premier League.

"I believe in myself," Pelle said in the Southampton Echo.

Ciro Immobile of Borussia Dortmund, Fabio Quagliarella at Torino and AS Roma revelation Mattia Destro have all been ahead of Pelle in Antonio Conte's recent selections, while Pablo Osvaldo, Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli, Alessio Cerci, Lorenzo Insigne, Giuseppe Rossi and Alberto Gilardino have also all been called up ahead of Pelle.

He continued: "If I was not even inside a small thought of [Conte] it would be strange. I'm doing well and I know by myself when I deserve something, when not. I deserve to be considered in the national team at this moment, but I don't pretend to be selected. There are other players that deserve like I do.

"At the end of the list it is only five offensive players that will be in the selection, and to be in the five in all of Italy is not easy. We know how many good players Italy has.

"I'm just happy with what I'm doing and until now, for nine years after I was an under-21, I've never been in the national team.

"Of course, I [want]  it, but for me now the focus is to do good with Southampton and if it will come I am going to be super happy to be on."

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