Why not support Sereni?

ENGLAND fans looking for another country to 'support' in the forthcoming European Championships have looked at a variety of reasons to follow one particular side.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

ENGLAND fans looking for another country to 'support' in the forthcoming European Championships have looked at a variety of reasons to follow one particular side.

There are some who may have links with a certain country by family member, even if it was generations ago, others will go for a country because their favourite club players will be there.

Undecided Ipswich fans may have a reason to back Italy, and as World Champions, they are not a bad nation to pin your colours to, for former keeper Matteo Sereni is being widely tipped to be called up for the Azzurri.

Now playing for Torino in Seri A, Sereni is being lauded for his eye catching displays in goal behind a side that is 15th in the table.

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Sereni has been immense for the Turin outfit keeping six clean sheets in 15 games and saving three penalties.

Buffon remains the number one choice for Italy with new national coach Roberto Donadoni showing he is willing to look further down the pecking order.

Sereni is overtaking back up keepers Marco Amelia, Gianluca Curci and Christian Abbiata, who he replaced at Torino, and regular watchers of Italian football have been impressed at how the 32-year-old has performed for his club and many pundits are tipping him to come through.

Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Fabio Lucari said: “Matteo Sereni has a very good chance of being called up. Buffon is the number one and Marco Amelia the number two but we don't have many challenging them and Sereni has a chance.”

Fresh from the winter break, Sereni is this week preparing with Torino for their first game back which is at home against Livorno on Sunday.

Sereni's wife and agent Silvia spoke of how happy Matteo was but he was not getting carried away by the possibility of an international call up.

She said: “If the chance came to be included in the Italy squad for the European Championships then he would be very honoured and proud to be included.

“Many people tell him now that he is the number two only to Buffon and there is a chance he will be called into the national team.

“But now Matteo is working hard to play well for Torino and is focused doing his work for Torino.”

Sereni got caught up in the messy politics Of Italian football at Lazio and spent all of last season kicking his heels. He puts his new lease of life down to the reassuring atmosphere at Torino where he is the regular number one.

Silvia said: “The final two years at Lazio were not good. Matteo is very happy here at Torino and wants to thank the club for giving him this opportunity.

“He has been able to show what he can do and is enjoying a very good season with Torino. Because he has been one of their top players, people have taken notice of him. It has always been important for Matteo to have people who believe in him and at Torino they do and he is playing very well.

“Perhaps that is down to being so happy and settled. He has always been a good goalkeeper but now he has found serenity in Turin as a player and a father.”

The couple now have two children, a six-year-old boy and two and a half year-old girl and that has added to Sereni's contentment.

Silvia said: “Matteo loves being a Papa. He comes home from training and loves playing with the children - he is a very happy man.”

Italy qualified ahead of Scotland for this summer's European Championship in Austria/Switzerland's and their next game is a friendly against Portugal on February 6, just five days before his birthday. They have another friendly following month when they play Spain.

The call up could come for either one of these games and floating England fans may have another reason other than our national manager being Italian, to follow Italy in the summer.