West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon in action with West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna
West Ham United defender Angelo Ogbonna has offered words of optimism on his country's chances in the European Championship, with Italy preparing to kick off their tournament, in comments appearing on the West Ham site.
Few have mentioned Antonio Conte's side as challengers for the trophy, but according to the Hammers centre back, there are plenty of things Italy have in their favour.
“We always give 120 per cent, because that is only right,” Ogbonna is quoted as saying by whufc.com. “We are working very hard and I think the coach is the added value, as he never lets a single detail pass unnoticed.
“This makes us have the right mentality to face these Euros, where on paper we might be on an inferior level to some other teams, but nothing can be taken for granted.
“We are keeping the same determination from the first day to the last.”
Swansea's Andre Ayew in action with West Ham's Angelo Ogbonna
The four times World Cup winners have had considerably less success in the European Championships, with their only victory coming nearly fifty years ago in 1968. However, they were serious contenders in the last tournament, impressing before being swept aside by Spain in the final, and Ogbonna will be hoping they can go one better this summer, despite the general perception on the quality of the squad.
The Italian had a strong first season in the Premier League after his move from Juventus last summer, helping the Hammers to one of their highest ever Premier League finishes.
Angelo Ogbonna celebrates scoring the second goal for West Ham
It is no surprise to hear the 28-year-old in such a positive mood and confident of making an impression after helping his club side star in matches against more established sides both home and away last season.
Ogbonna will be hopeful of featuring for the Azzurri in France having failed to get on the pitch during the 2012 European Championships, though he has a clutch of former Juve teammates to battle for one of the three defensive spots outgoing manager Conte is likely to employ.
West Ham's Angelo Ogbonna in action with Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini