Captaining Italy 'an indescribable emotion' – Donnarumma

By Sports Desk June 07, 2022

Gianluigi Donnarumma admitted he was left "speechless" after leading Italy to victory over Hungary in the Nations League. 

Goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini helped the Azzurri prevail 2-1 at Dino Manuzzi on Tuesday.

Gianluca Mancini's own-goal set up a nervous finish in Cesena, but the reigning European champions held out for maximum points in the Group A3 encounter.

Once again, Roberto Mancini handed the captain's armband to Donnarumma, who shook off an injury to his finger to take his place between the sticks.

The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper became Italy's youngest skipper since 1965 when he donned the armband against Belgium last October.

And following his nation's failure to qualify for the World Cup – as well as the commanding Finalissima defeat to Argentina earlier this month – the 23-year-old has been pleased with the response of Mancini's youthful squad.

"We knew that we had to change and restart with young players after a difficult period," Donnarumma said.

"They [the youngsters] came here with the right spirit knowing that you have to do everything you can for this shirt.

"The captain's armband is an indescribable emotion, wearing the number one shirt and the armband is something that leaves you speechless. 

"For this shirt, I would play even without a finger, I have to thank the medical staff who helped me a lot; with my desire and their help, I was able to play tonight. 

"For me, this shirt is incredible and I will play as long as I can with this shirt."

Italy displaced Hungary at the top of Group A3 with four points from their opening two games.

As a result, Mancini believes his players can carry plenty of belief as the campaign continues against England later this week. 

"We played a good game, especially in the first half,” the head coach added.

"Their goal, however, created us some fear and pressure in a game we should have won with a bigger margin of goals. Both teams were a bit tired at the end.

"We are playing with several youngsters and we are aware that we have plenty of work to do, the road is still long. 

"We can go forward with confidence, however, because we played two good games against difficult teams in Germany and Hungary."

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