Report: De Rossi to start at center back for Italy

The Roma midfielder could be deployed in defense for the Azzurri at the European Championship due to Andrea Barzagli's injury
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is considering fielding Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi as center back in the Azzurri's Euro 2012 opening game against Spain, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The 2006 World Cup winners will have to make do without the services of defender Andrea Barzagli in their Group C opener due to injury, and Prandelli is still undecided who will take the Juventus man's place on June 10.

De Rossi, who has occasionally featured at the back for Roma during the 2011-12 campaign, was tried in a three-man defence during a training session on Tuesday alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Angelo Ogbonna, and could also get the nod on Sunday.

Italy has mostly used a four-man defense under Prandelli, but the national team coach could opt for a 3-5-2 formation against Spain after a disappointing performance in the 3-0 friendly loss against Russia on June 1.

Italy will also have to deal with Croatia and Republic of Ireland in the group stages of this summer's tournament.