Italy's latest find, Torino winger Alessio Cerci won his first two caps in the team's most recent outings, contesting 46 minutes against Brazil and 75 against Malta. Coach Cesare Prandelli has been on the lookout for wide players and sees much to like in the 25-year-old from Velletri, who boasts fine technique and an eagerness to surge forward down the flanks.

 

Naturally left-footed, Cerci can operate on the left or the right but prefers a starting berth on the right from where he can shoot on goal. After spending his youth in Roma's academy, he made his first-team debut for the capital club aged 16 on 16 May 2004, catching the eye of then coach Fabio Capello and featuring in a goalless draw against Sampdoria.

 

That was the start of a rapid rise, but Cerci's progress was soon halted by a series of injuries, the forward suffering a ruptured meniscus in his knee and cruciate ligament inflammation. Following three seasons out on loan, he joined Fiorentina in 2010, only to leave two years later after falling out with the club's fans.

 

Cerci represented Italy at every age group during his adolescence and finally made the step up to the senior side on 17 March this year. His international future looks, for now at least, to depend on the system Prandelli prefers to use.