Italy's teen striker Kean eyes more records, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Italy's teen striker Kean eyes more records

Juve teenager, who says he 'steals secrets from Ronaldo', becomes second youngest player to score for Italy

Teenage starlet Moise Kean said that he had learnt from Juventus teammate Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring his first goal for Italy in what he hopes will be a record-breaking career.

The 19-year-old forward was the first player born in the 21st century to score for the senior team, after bagging the second goal on 74 minutes in a 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying Group J win over Finland in Udine yesterday morning (Singapore time). Nicolo Barella, 22, opened the scoring for the Azzurri after just seven minutes.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini picked Kean to replace the injured Federico Chiesa in a three-pronged attack, along with Juventus teammate Federico Bernardeschi and Lazio's Ciro Immobile, reported AFP.

"I learn from Cristiano Ronaldo, in training, I steal his secrets," said Kean, who was born in the year 2000 to Ivorian parents in Vercelli, northern Italy.

"I always try to be ready and train regularly, so that I'm prepared when the time comes.

"This is a beautiful evening, but I know that I still have so many records to beat and I intend to beat them.

"When I got the call, I was fired up, excited, eager to show what I could do.

"Ciro (Immobile) gave me a great assist and it's thanks to him and the whole team that I was able to score."

Kean has already racked up several firsts. He is the first player born after 1999 to start in Serie A, score in the Italian top flight and make his debut with the Under-21 team.

He is also the first player born in 2000 or after to play for the senior national team in both a friendly and a competitive game.

Kean was handed his debut in a friendly against the United States last November, coming on as a second-half substitute.

His goal against Finland made him the second-youngest Italian to score for the national side after former Juventus player Bruno Nicole in 1958 against France, aged 18 years and 258 days.

"He has great qualities, but it's all up to him - the margins for improvement are enormous," said Mancini.

"Kean's primary role is as a centre-forward, but he can also play on the right or the left.

"He has enormous quality and is devastating on a physical level, but he needs to grow.

"Perhaps his lack of stress is what gives him more strength right now."

Juventus and Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci , meanwhile, believes Kean is "destined for greatness".

He told Italian broadcaster Rai Sport: "Kean is destined for greatness.

"He has the quality and the strength, so the only element he needs to hold on to is the humility and focus to keep learning from those around him."

Fellow Juve and Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini added that he advised Kean not to seek a loan move in January when he wasn't getting regular game time.

He said: "His main talent is scoring goals, now he must grow in consistency and improve daily, which is not easy.

"In January, when he had the opportunity to leave, I advised him to stay because the season was long. Now he is enjoying this moment. I hope it's just the beginning."

Italy play their second qualifier against Liechtenstein in Parma on Wednesday morning.