Pelle headed for Italy start, ex-boss praises work ethic

Graziano Pelle

Graziano Pelle looks likely to start for Italy against Malta this evening and the man who launched his career, Delio Rossi, is pleased for him.

Graziano Pelle's excellent start to the season for Southampton may have earned him the chance to lead the line for Italy against Malta.

Pelle was favoured over Mario Balotelli for a place in Antonio Conte's squad and the Italian press believe he will start this evening.

Italy beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in their last outing, but their strikers didn't find the net, instead relying on defender Giorgio Chiellini to score twice, as well as netting an own goal.

Simone Zaza is injured and Pelle may well be paired with Ciro Immobile in attack against minnows Malta, which is a good chance to make his mark.

For Delio Rossi, the coach who spotted Pelle at Lecce, the achievement will owe everything to hard work.

"You could see that he had great potential," Rossi recalled to TMW.

"When he was at Lecce he still had a lot of things to work on, but Graziano is one of those who is self-motivated and has earned everything he has achieved on the pitch.

"I am very happy with how his career has developed. It goes to show that you get results in the end."

Pelle started his career at Lecce where he came through the youth ranks to play in the senior side between 2004 and 2007 before travelling to the Netherlands and AZ.

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