Italy’s American-born Ros si hopes to start against the US

PRETORIA: Italy’s American-born striker Gui­seppe Rossi hopes to get a chance to play against the United States when the countries clash in the Confederations Cup today.

The Villarreal striker will have mixed emotions: “It is the country where I was born, where my parents and a lot of my friends live,” he said.

Rossi, 22, has been described by coach Marcello Lippi as a future stand-out for Italy but is not expected to make the starting line-up for the Group B match at Loftus Versfeld.

Rossi scored his first goal for Italy last weekend in a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in Pisa and was in the starting line-up in midweek when Italy beat New Zealand in another warm-up game in Pretoria.

Rossi, born in Teaneck, New Jersey to Italian immigrants, was 12 when he went to Parma to pursue his footballing dreams.

He signed for Manchester United at the age of 17 before going to Newcastle United and Parma on loan. Two years ago, he was sold to Villarreal in Spain.

The Americans invited him to a training camp ahead of the 2006 World Cup Finals but Rossi chose to pursue the potential of an international career with Italy.

He won his first of five caps last October as a substitute against Bulgaria. — Reuters

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