De Rossi: No problems if I have to play in defence for Italy against Spain

The Roma stalwart is ready to adapt and start in central defence against Spain this Sunday to accommodate Cesare Prandelli's needs for a more stable line at the back
Daniele de Rossi has admitted that he is almost sure to start in central defence for Italy this Sunday in Group C's opening game against Spain, but assured that he and his team are ready for the challenge of facing the title holders.

The Roma vice-captain, 28, acknowledged that it will be an uphill battle against Vicente del Bosque's men, as he hinted that he could retain his role as a catalyst between defence and attack even if he were to be deployed as a centre-back.

Alex Mott | Italy Expert

It's not the ideal situation for Cesare Prandelli, but with Barzagli's injury, De Rossi slotting in at centre-back seems the most sensible option ahead of the match in Gdansk tonight.

It almost certainly means the Azzurri going with three at the back, something they've been tinkering with in training fairly extensively.

He has played there on the odd occasion for Roma this season; most notably against Juventus, where he dealt well with the threat of Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri, leading the Giallorossi to a 1-1 draw.
"The fascination of the European Championship is second only to the World Cup and if you want to have a starring role, you need to adapt," De Rossi told the Times of India.

"There is a 99 per cent chance that I will play in defence, but to say that my role will be of central defender is not exactly right as I will act as a link between the defence and the midfield. It's no problem. We will be playing against the best in the world, so of course it will be hard. But I am looking forward to it. "

De Rossi conceded that his side's preparation for the tournament was undermined by the match-fixing scandal that led some of their key players, including Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon, to be interrogated by the police while Domenico Criscito was sent home for his alleged involvement.

"There has been a lot of talk in the last month, but all will be forgotten when the matches start. A month before we won the World Cup in Germany there was a similar atmosphere as there is now.

"It is slightly annoying because whenever the national team is mentioned the issue of the match-fixing and betting scandal follows. But none of us that are here are involved in this. It is not as if all our football is dirty as it may appear.”

De Rossi referred to the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, which led to Juventus being demoted to Serie B and AC Milan deducted points at the start of their 2006-2007 campaign, as an example of the ability of Italy's national football team to ignore off-the-pitch problems as they recorded a World Cup triumph.

However, the Roma man admitted this time the squad was embroiled in an even deeper crisis.

"It’s not easy because this time is worse than 2006. It’s been more shocking, with the police coming to [Italy's training camp] Coverciano and people I know being arrested. We went to the Euros with a stain on us. But we have to concentrate on football."

Italy's encounter with Spain kicks off at 18:00CET on Sunday.