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Armenia v Italy

'He helped me a great deal' - Romagnoli ready to step up for Italy in place of injured Chiellini

6:48 AM GMT+8 06/09/2019
Chiellini Juventus
The Juventus defender is unlikely to feature again during Euro 2020 qualification, but the Milan defender Romagnoli aims to replace him

Alessio Romagnoli feels ready to step up for Italy in an attempt to replace the injured Giorgio Chiellini.

The Juventus defender suffered a rupture in his anterior cruciate ligament during training with the Bianconeri last Friday, ruling him out for several months for club and country.

Romagnoli featured alongside Chiellini's team-mate Leonardo Bonucci at the centre of Italy's defence on Thursday, as Roberto Mancini's side overcame Armenia 3-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

However, the 24-year-old was caught out when Armenia took the lead through Aleksandre Karapetyan, who was later sent off.

Romagnoli has amassed 10 caps for Italy, having made his debut for his country in 2016.

The defender has been a stalwart for Milan in recent years, having 152 appearances over the past four seasons for the club.

With Chiellini set to miss the majority of the season after suffering the anterior cruciate ligament injury, Romagnoli seems likely to be Mancini's first choice to stand in for the Juventus stalwart.

"We always have to improve and be ready when called upon," Romagnoli told Rai Sport .

"Giorgio is a fantastic player and a great man. He helped me a great deal on international duty and I, or whoever replaces him, will give our best to make up for his absence."

Italy laboured for much of Thursday's encounter, only going ahead when Lorenzo Pellegrini headed home in the 77th minute, before Andrea Belotti's second goal sealed the points in Group J, with Mancini acknowledging his side were far from their best.

"I don't know if it was our worst performance. I said it would be difficult because easy games no longer exist," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"We didn't start well, conceded a goal, but could've turned it around before half-time. In a way, the red card penalised us, as Armenia just focused on defending with 10 men and didn't allow any spaces.

"The truth is Armenia were physically superior and are mid-way through their seasons. We did what we needed to, we need to do more, but we're working on it."