Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
'Wembley joy could boost my World Cup dream' says Sunderland forward
FABIO BORINI has geared up for the Capital One Cup final by suggesting a starring role at Wembley for Sunderland could boost his chances of a World Cup call.
The 22-year-old has already been the scorer of crucial goals for the Black Cats this season, with strikes against Chelsea and Manchester United proving vital in the run to this Sunday’s showpiece.
But Borini is not content with settling for how the first half of his season-long loan has gone personally and he is determined to force his way in to Italy’s plans for this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
The World Cup was in his thinking when he accepted the offer to leave Liverpool for a year last summer and he remains focused on achieving his goals now.
WORLD CUP HOPES: Fabio Borini
“I wanted to succeed this season because I want to go to the World Cup,” said Borini. “I have not heard anything from Italy. I am only focused on myself at the moment. I have to keep scoring goals.
“It will help if we do well in the big games, both in the cups and in the Premier League. The national team coach will look for the better players and at the bigger teams in every country. That’s how it works. That’s why if we can stay up, score goals then they will notice.”
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is keeping an eye on Borini’s form knowing that his squad is hardly bulging with automatic choices alongside Mario Balotelli.
Fiorentina’s Giussepe Rossi, who spent a short time at Newcastle on loan earlier in his career, is also regarded as a shoo-in, but he must prove his fitness once he recovers from a cruciate knee ligament injury at the back end of April.
Other than those, though, Borini feels there is a chance to break in to Prandelli’s plans, which is why he thinks shining in games like Sunday’s Wembley showdown with Manchester City can boost his cause.
The former Roma forward has not played for his country since collecting his first cap against USA in July 2012. He said: “I went to the Euros that year but never played.
“I did well for the Under-21s because I felt comfortable. I would love to be at the World Cup this year.
“There is (Mario) Balotelli, Rossi, who is injured, ahead of me, they are the two certainties if they are fit. Then there is (Alberto) Gilardino, (Dani) Osvaldo, (Luca) Toni, (Alessio) Cerci (Lorenzo) Insigne, maybe.
“There has always been a chance for me. If I score goals there is a chance. You need to score goals to be in there. It’s not changed.”
Borini feels his chances would be even stronger had he been playing regularly in his preferred central attacking role. Instead Gustavo Poyet has tended to use him on the wing for the Black Cats.
He has scored five goals from that role, in some of Sunderland’s biggest games this season, including two derby victories over Newcastle United.
Borini said: “Lately my role seems like a utility player but my preferred role is a central striker, being closer to the goal and running towards goal rather than in a straight line on the wing.
“If I’m playing on the wing I try to improve every game even if it is not my position. I have still enjoyed it, but I think I could score more goals through the middle.”
* Sunderland will face Hull City in the sixth round of the FA Cup on March 9 (kick-off 1.30pm). A general sale of tickets will commence from 9am on Tuesday, March 4.
That tie has meant the trip to Liverpool has now been rearranged for Wednesday, March 26. It will still be televised by Sky.