A player reportedly sought after by Tottenham Hotspur in the summer has broken his duck at international level as his nation recorded an emphatic eight-goal margin victory.
Spurs were linked with Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo in the last transfer window, with his agent Claudio Vigorelli telling the Daily Mail in September that the North Londoners sought to bring him to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before going for Giovani Lo Celso.
Vigorelli even compared the 20-year-old Italian - which The Mirror had speculated was the subject of a £40million Tottenham bid - with Spurs legend Paul Gascoigne, telling the Daily Mail: "Zaniolo resembles Gascoigne very much for his physical qualities but he has a much milder character.
"Now (Roma boss) Fonseca is playing him in central midfield, a position he likes, where he can render and become just like Gascoigne: devastating with his technique and quality. He is a creative player who has pace and muscle, which is a rare commodity in Italy."
Fast-forward two months and Zaniolo has five goals and one assist in 16 appearances for the Giallorossi (Transfermarkt), while for Italy he has won five caps, the latest of which came yesterday in the 9-1 hammering of Armenia in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Zaniolo was promoted to the starting XI after staying on the bench against Bosnia and he seized his opportunity with a brace, first nutmegging the goalkeeper with the inside of his right boot in the ninth minute and firing in with his left foot from the edge of the box after good work from Jorginho in the 64th minute.
The Roma ace also weighed in with a superb assist just after the half-hour mark, delivering a splendid through-ball for Ciro Immobile to flick past the beleaguered opposition stopper as the Italians, avenging their dismal World Cup qualifying campaign, sealed their perfect Euro 2020 qualifying record in Palermo.
Have something to tell us about this article?