Stephan El Shaarawy assures Italy want to be ‘protagonists’ at the EURO 2024 tournament in Germany, with new coach Luciano Spalletti bringing ‘clear ideas’ to the squad.

They are in the same group as Albania, Spain and Croatia, while the final friendly match will be against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday at the Stadio Castellani in Empoli.

Although the Azzurri are the reigning Champions of Europe after lifting the trophy at Wembley Stadium, they are not considered among the favourites this time around.

“Many players have changed from the previous Euros, there are young players who already have a lot of experience at international level and a lot of quality,” El Shaarawy told RAI Sport.

El Shaarawy welcomes Spalletti to Italy squad

The Roma winger was not in the EURO 2020 group that won the tournament last time, but is familiar with coach Spalletti, who replaced Roberto Mancini in September 2023.

“We have a great coach and a solid group that is training well. Our idea is to go to Germany and be protagonists. Spalletti is very demanding, but he has very clear ideas on what he wants and we are following him.

“We’re eager to make our mark, but we need to be up to the task, because the level is very high in this competition.”

El Shaarawy made 48 appearances for Roma this season, contributing three goals and nine assists, while his versatility earned him a place in the Italy squad.

“Over time, I learned to cover various different roles, but that versatility was always in my characteristics. This call-up is thanks to a lot of hard work and I am pleased with my progress this season.”

Italy open their EURO 2024 campaign against Albania on June 15, then face Spain before concluding the group phase with Croatia.

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