Italy Under-21 talent Cher Ndour explains why Paris Saint-Germain was the right club for his career progress and the importance of beating the Republic of Ireland.

The European Under-21 Championship qualifier kicks off in Cork on Tuesday at 17.30 GMT.

“I see the Under-21s as the big step towards the senior Italy squad and wearing this jersey is always an honour. I hope to continue this growth process,” Ndour told RAI Sport.

Born in Brescia and a product of the prolific Atalanta youth academy, Ndour left Italy early for Benfica and after “three wonderful years” he moved to Paris Saint-Germain.

“Seeing Kylian Mbappé train up close is remarkable, he does things you just cannot explain. I speak Italian with Luis Enrique and in a few months he has already been able to improve me a lot.”

Nicknamed the ‘new Paul Pogba,’ the midfielder is a self-confessed Juventus fan who helped Italy win the European Under-19 Championship after a 20-year gap.

He only turned 19 in July and has already made three Ligue 1 appearances so far this season with Paris Saint-Germain.

“My dream is to make my debut for the senior Italy squad, then to win a European Championship or World Cup. As for club level, I had the opportunity to return to Italy over the summer, but at this moment it is not in my plans. I will one day.

“Unlike Italy, apart from Juventus and Atalanta, abroad there are second teams that allow you to mature in house. I wouldn’t have liked to go on loan.”

Italy are currently top of their qualifying group for the Under-21 European Championship on 10 points and go head-to-head with the Republic of Ireland, who are level with Norway on nine.

“We did well to react to the draw with Latvia, but the fact we haven’t conceded a goal yet in this group is an important aspect. We want to end 2023 on a high and consolidate first place before the next games in March.”

The Azzurrini beat San Marino 7-0 in another qualifier on Thursday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tickets Kit Collector