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Mancini's first interview: I want to make the fans proud

On Wednesday afternoon Gianluca Mancini became the club's fourth signing of the summer so far, completing his move from Atalanta.

The 23-year-old sat down with Roma TV to discuss the switch to the Giallorossi - read everything he had to say below...

How does it feel to be an AS Roma player?

“Joining a prestigious club like Roma is a proud moment for me, and the culmination of all the hard work put in ever since I first started to play football. I cannot wait to get started on this new adventure. I’m a very happy man.”

How did the transfer unfold?

"It was a long process. In January there were some discussions but nothing concrete – but then in June the talks moved forward. I wanted to come here, because Roma is a big club. In the end the negotiations all ended well.”

You have given up the chance to play in the Champions League with Atalanta to come here…

“It’s not a case of leaving Atalanta, it’s more that Roma are a big club and it is difficult to turn down a call from them. I had two important years in Bergamo, we managed to qualify for the Champions League – but Roma is a big opportunity that doesn’t come around often and I wanted to take it now and get started on this new adventure.”

Have you spoken to the coach?

“Yes, we spoke about a few different things but I’ll keep that to myself for now. But I was impressed by him, it’s not every day that you get a call from a coach as successful as him. So I can only say that I can’t wait to get started.”

Last season you scored six goals – not bad for a defender!

“When a defender scores it helps out the team even more - even if my primary job is to help my teammates not to concede them. If you do that first and then can chip in with a few goals as well, that’s great.”

You are clearly good in the air, but equally you move well across the ground and can drive forward with the ball: what is the most important aspect of your game?

“I have those qualities, yes. Maybe there were even more obvious at Atalanta with the way Gasperini wanted to play; pushing high up the pitch. But I can still improve a lot, in those areas and many others too.”

The coach wants a lot of intensity from his players – do you feel suited to that style?

“The way I see the game I think that is an important quality to have – because it enables you to unsettle the opposition and prevent them from having too much time to choose their next move. I think I can suit the style pretty well, especially because in Bergamo that intensity was a big part of how we tried to play. So I’m looking forward to getting started with the coach and getting to understand what he wants out on the pitch.”

Last year your performances also earned you a call-up for the international team…

“Last season was definitely a great one for me, in pretty much every way. Every Italian dreams of playing for the national team. I was fortunate enough to be called up, and then to play. To earn the right to be called up again for Italy is a big motivation for me and another reason to want to do well for Roma.”

It’s a shame that the European Under-21 Championship did not go as you hoped this summer though…

“It did not go as we wanted, especially as we had a strong squad. We beat Spain, and then it’s a shame we didn’t do so well against Poland. But that’s how things go and we can’t dwell on the past – we need to look to the future and focus on improving.”

Tell us a bit more about your career so far…

“Well I started at Fiorentina, where I progressed through the academy from nine until I was 19. I was called up to the first-team a few times, although I never made my debut. After that I spent two years at Perugia, where I made my debut as a professional in Serie B.

“Then I had two years in Bergamo, where I improved in every way: mentally, in the way I focus during games and prepare for them, but also physically and technically. I thank the coach, Mister Gasperini, for all of that.”

Finally, do you have a message for the Roma fans?

“I just want to tell them that I will give everything I have, with complete focus and respect. Every time I go out on the pitch I will work hard for the team and try to make the fans, the club and my teammates proud.”

 
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