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'At Chelsea things are not going as I wish' - Emerson admits he only feels 'important' to Italy

09:51 BST 12/10/2020
Emerson Palmieri Italay Euro 2020 qualifying 2019
The defender was pleased to get some minutes under his belt at international level after a frustrating start to the season at Stamford Bridge

Emerson Palmieri has admitted his Chelsea career is "not going as I wish" and that he only feels "important" to Italy.

Chelsea forked out £18 million ($23m) to sign Emerson from Roma in January 2018, tying him down to a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The 26-year-old has played second fiddle to Marcos Alonso at left-back since then, and fell even further down the squad pecking order following the arrival of Ben Chilwell from Leicester in August.

A return to Serie A was mooted for Emerson before the summer transfer deadline, with ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte reportedly keen on arranging a reunion with the defender at San Siro.

However, a final deal never came to fruition, and the ex-Roma star now has no choice but to remain on the sidelines until the market reopens again in the new year.

Emerson remains a regular in Roberto Mancini's Italy set-up despite his current situation at Chelsea, and took in the full 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Poland in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

The full-back says he feels more valued at international level than at Stamford Bridge, with a lack of competitive action in England coming as a huge source of frustration.

Emerson told reporters after Italy's trip to Poland: “When I arrive here I change my head. I feel important and part of the group.

"At Chelsea, things are not going as I wish in this part of the season. I just have to work.”

The Chelsea outcast also appeared in Italy's 6-0 friendly win over Moldova last week, and will be back in contention for a place in Mancini's line-up when the Azzurri take on the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Emerson added ahead of a second Nations League encounter in the space of four days: “When you play for the national team, you always have to be ready.

"We are due to play three games in 10 days, when I knew I had to play I was happy but it came as no surprise.

“When I play with this shirt I have to give my best.”

Italy might have ended up losing against Poland were it not for Emerson's timely challenge on Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as he bore down on goal in the first half.

The defender also missed a chance of his own at the other end and saw a penalty shout waved away by the referee, which he felt was the wrong decision.

“We are defenders, when we face players of this level, that tackle was almost like a goal. I am also happy for the defensive department, it was very important to stop someone like Lewandowski," said Emerson.

"We did not concede any goals and we must give value to that. I couldn’t score, it’s part of the game but I think there was a penalty for me.

"The defender moved me a little bit and I tried to stand and shoot. I did not see the images, but my feeling is that it could have been a penalty.”