Mauri aims for Italy future
Stefano Mauri has vowed to establish himself in the Italy squad after ending a three-year absence.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 05/10/10 4:38pm
Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri has vowed to establish himself in the Italy squad after ending a three-year absence from the national team.
The 30-year-old has made an impressive start to the new season with Serie A leaders Lazio and was included in Cesare Prandelli's squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Serbia.
That saw Mauri return to the squad having won the last of his six caps for the Azzurri in a friendly against South Africa on 17th October, 2007.
And the former Udinese man is confident he can remain a part of Italy's international set-up.
"I'm here to stay," Mauri said. "This call is to the merit of Lazio. When a team is doing so well, the individual talent emerges.
"But this return to the national team is also down to my personal determination to believe in my quality. I feel more responsibility and I believe I can give a lot to this group.
"I hope to do well with the Azzurri jersey for a long time knowing that there is plenty of competition. To return after three years is a great satisfaction."
Prandelli claimed Mauri is the "most in-form midfielder in Serie A" after seeing him score two goals in five games for Lazio, including the only goal in Sunday's 1-0 win over Brescia.
That saw Edoardo Reja's men go two points clear of defending champions Inter Milan at the top of the table.
"We have done really well in our opening six games, but it's too early to know how far we can go this season," Mauri said.
Italy are top of Group C after winning their opening two qualifiers against Estonia and the Faroe Islands.
Mauri could play alongside Andrea Pirlo in central midfield in Friday's qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast, before the Azzurri face Serbia in Genoa next Tuesday.
"I am ready," Mauri added. "My ideal position would be to play at the heart of midfield but I could also play on the wing or as playmaker.
"I am an attacking midfielder that can play in several roles but it will be up to Prandelli to decide in which position to place me."