Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi has matured as a player since moving to Spain in 2007, his international coach Cesare Prandelli believes. Rossi starred in Italy's 3-0 win over Estonia in Modena yesterday, scoring a goal and causing the Baltic nation no end of problems with his movement.
The 24-year-old has only spent half a season in Italy, with Parma on loan from Manchester United before he moved to Villarreal, and Prandelli believes Italian teams made a mistake in over-looking him.
"He's one of those players that all coaches would like to have," said Prandelli. "He understands the modern game, he's dynamic, he knows how to play between the lines and behind the defence, he's got technique and speed.
"He's matured a lot in Spain, their football is ideally suited to him. He's got the mentality of a great player, someone who asks himself questions every day. The mistake was made a few years ago after he played at Parma and no-one believed in him."
It is now a year since Prandelli took over from Marcello Lippi after the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa and he remains unbeaten as Italy coach. He has won all but one of his UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying matches, the other being a 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland, and also beat Côte d'Ivoire in a friendly and drew with Germany in another.
But he insists that there is still a lot of work to be done and he said the change from the day-to-day involvement of club management to being an international coach surprised him. "The most difficult time was when I realised that I would have to work in a different way," he said. "I was used to being at a club where the day after (a game) you discuss the mistakes.
"Here, after three hours there was no-one left and I would ask myself, what do I do now? As for the best moment, I believe that's yet to come. I want to thank the team for working with conviction and serenity, and only that way can we accelerate the process of maturing."