EMANUELE GIACCHERINI is eager to show that his decision to join Sunderland was the right one, by sealing a spot in Italy’s World Cup squad.
Italy have already secured their place in next summer’s tournament in Brazil ahead of tonight’s final qualifier against Armenia.
But after helping the Azzurri dominate qualification group B, Giaccherini is not ready to surrender his place in the squad after being conscious of his international aspirations when he moved to the Stadium of Light during the summer.
Juventus opted to let Giaccherini join the Black Cats in a £6.8million deal to balance the books, rather than the Serie A giants pro-actively looking to part company with the 28-year-old.
But Giaccherini was also keen to play regular first-team football on Wearside after being limited to 17 league appearances for Juventus last season.
Giaccherini told the Echo: “I wanted to come to England to play regularly.
“At Juventus, I wasn’t given a consistent place in the team.
“And next summer there is the World Cup, so I needed to play regularly.
“The World Cup was a big reason behind me coming here.”
Giaccherini had begun to thrive prior to the international break, with only a stunning save from Manchester United keeper David De Gea denying him a third goal in as many games.
Caretaker boss Kevin Ball had given Giaccherini licence to roam inside off the flank, rather than being limited to a restricted role out wide under Paolo Di Canio.
An upturn in the Italian’s form couldn’t prevent Sunderland succumbing to defeats against Liverpool and Man United though, with Gus Poyet’s side heading to Swansea on Saturday with just a point to their names.
But Giaccherini believes Sunderland could have a healthier points tally if they had enjoyed a splash of fortune.
“In the last two games, I’ve played more in the middle and it’s a good position for me,” added Giaccherini, who was an unused substitute for Italy’s 2-2 draw in Denmark on Friday.
“I hope to help the team from there and play a part.
“I’ve scored the two goals as well.
“We’re sorry about the results though, because we go onto the pitch to win.
“This team is a good team.
“In the first seven matches, we could possibly have had three or four points more – Fulham, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich, Manchester United.”