Graziano Pelle shows international class for Italy

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Graziano Pelle's hard-work has earned him a superb start to the new season which culminated with him netting a debut goal for Italy.

The 6ft 4in Southampton striker was called into Antonio Conte's squad for their recent matches and made his debut in the 1-0 win over Malta on Monday, scoring the only goal of the game as the Azzurri maintained their 100% record in European Championship qualifying.

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The goal came in the 24th minute after the Maltese goalkeeper parried and Pelle was on-hand to tap home from close range to give the visitors the lead. He could even have had a second as his side scraped home against hard-working opposition.

Confidence showing

The burly striker, who joined Saints from Feyenoord this summer as one of manager Ronald Koeman's first signings at the club, has kept his scoring form up since moving to England.

Pelle had scored 55 goals in 66 games for Feyenoord in two seasons with the Rotterdam outfit and has continued into the new campaign as the spearhead of the Southampton attack.

With his confidence already flowing, the call-up to represent Italy for the first time was a major honour for the 29-year-old and his performance on Monday was certainly that of a man in form with another goal to add to his collection.

More to come

There could even be more to come from Pelle as the season continues and he further adjusts and acclimatises to the pace and power of the Premier League.

In Holland, there were some sizeable gaps in the quality of the teams, but the Premier League is unforgiving and Pelle has already shown he can cope with the added pressure.

As the replacement for Rickie Lambert at Southampton, Pelle is showing that he can fill the former talisman's boots and with each game that he continues to impress, he will stake even more of a claim to be a part of the next Italy squad.

If his goalscoring form continues, it would be hard to disagree that he should again be picked ahead of Liverpool's Mario Balotelli.

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