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Florenzi: Six debutants reflect Italy’s need to start ‘fresh’

Alessandro Florenzi insisted he has faith in Italy’s young talent following their 1-1 draw with Germany on Saturday.

The Azzurri opened their Nations League campaign with an improved performance from their UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima loss to Argentina, consistently generating opportunities against a ball-dominant Germany.

Among a string of debutants, including Torino duo Tommaso Pobega and Samuele Ricci, 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto marked his first cap for Italy with an assist for Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Wearing the captain’s armband and amid Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, Florenzi tried to bring perspective to this international window.

“There were many young players compared to Wembley,” Florenzi told RAI Sport. “Some of them paid a price for the nerves of their debut, others behaved like little veterans.

“We need to start again with Italy fuelled by the hunger of these young guys.”

Florenzi and Gianluigi Donnarumma were the only Azzurri players on Saturday to have more than 40 caps, with six debutants overall at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

While five of them came off the bench, including Gnonto, a start was handed to Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi.

Asked whether he felt added responsibility wearing the captain’s armband, Florenzi claimed it was necessary for his team to rejuvenate the Italy squad.

“You feel responsibility every time you pull on this shirt,” the 31-year-old said.

“We had to send a signal that we were starting fresh and I think we did that. Everyone gave something more to honour this jersey.”

Italy host Hungary on Tuesday, before Saturday’s Euro 2020 final rematch with England.

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