Mattia Destro is in many ways Roma's man of the hour.
He was called up to the provisional 30-man Italy squad chosen by Cesare Prandelli, 23 of which will head to the World Cup in Brazil. Given Prandelli's ethical code, there was speculation Destro would not be chosen after his controversial three-match ban for an altercation with Davide Astori, and he's widely expected to be one of the seven facing the ax.
However, Destro has done more than enough this season in a Roma shirt to warrant inclusion, and he spoke to Rai Sport about a number of topics on Wednesday, including his hopes and desires for the World Cup.
The first question took him way back to January 2013, when he first injured his leg, beginning a spell of more or less an entire calendar year where he played very little football at all.
"The injury was nasty because it forced me to be out for a long time, but the awareness in my ability was fundamental and pushed me to work very hard for this call-up," he said.
Luckily, Destro remained rather healthy from December onwards and quickly became a fundamental part of Rudi Garcia's frontline, forcing his way into a trio of Francesco Totti, Gervinho, and Alessandro Florenzi.
"Self-esteem is important and I have great esteem in myself; this in difficult moments lets you do great things," Destro said.
As with any striker, belief is often integral to form, and Destro credits Roma's current coach with instilling a sense of that into him.
"[Rudi Garcia] had a great impact on me," he said. "He gave me confidence and that was important. At the moment I feel I must give thanks to the mister and my teammates."
Of course, the expulsion against Cagliari came up as well: "Let's say that I could have demonstrated even more, but this decision was taken."
Garcia himself noted after the last match that Destro was naturally missing a step or two, having missed a total of four matches because of the suspension and yellow card accumulation, and indubitably he feels that it interrupted a great spell of form for him.
"It was an incident that is seen many times during a game [as players try to get the ball to] guarantee success for their teams. A violent act? Absolutely not. I'm against replays on the field, I think there are enough referees to judge," Destro said.
Finally, he turned his focus towards this summer.
"It will be a beautiful World Cup, spectacular. Our team is very strong, a beautiful group," he continued. "Prandelli is a prepared coach, he's demonstrated his qualities."
Destro even gave praise to one of his rivals for a forward position, Giuseppe Rossi, who suffered a major injury earlier this year only to come back seemingly fit in time to make the plane ride across the Atlantic Ocean.
"I'm very happy for Rossi, he's recovering from a difficult period and I know what that means," Destro said. "There’s great competition, all the strikers called up have had great seasons."
Destro is surely one of them, even if does not make Italy's final 23.