Bonucci | “We have rediscovered our identity in Azzurri”

Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci is enthusiastic about the national team as he closes in on 100 appearances in Azzurri, and admits the side has “rediscovered its identity” after past failures.

“It all depends on Mancini,” the defender confessed to Il Corriere dello Sport. “If he wants me to play or not…It will be a great occasion with the fantastic atmosphere of the [Stadio] Olimpico.

“Aside from personal objectives, I am hoping for a victory because it will mean we have qualified with three matches still to play. We have never secured our place in a tournament so early since I was first called up for Italy. We have done great work.

“To qualify in Rome, in front of our own fantastic supporters would be something to be proud of. We will need help from the fans. Together, we would like to make it an historic night for Italy and Italians.

“Under [Roberto] Mancini, we have played a high-pressing game from the start. We have shown a little bit of fear, but he always believes in us. Credit to the boss, because he gives us the ideas and we just try to put them into practice.

“When you enjoy yourself, everything becomes easier and you remember things that you have tried in training. If it works on the pitch, it’s even better. We have enjoyed ourselves so much with the national team this year, and have rediscovered our enthusiasm after losing in Euro 2016 and missing out on the World Cup.

“Now we have an identity, so we must ride the wave and improve match by match.”

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