International exile my fault – Pelle

Graziano Pelle says he has no-one to blame but himself for a seven-year absence from the Italy international set-up.

Pelle represented Italy at Under-20 and Under-21 levels earlier in his career, but subsequently failed to make the step up to the senior team, despite scoring 50 Eredivisie goals for Feyenoord over the last two seasons.

However, the 29-year-old has been rewarded with a call-up to Italy's squad for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying double-header against Azerbaijan and Malta after making an impressive start to life in the Premier League with new club Southampton.

Pelle has scored four goals in seven appearances in the English top flight, and is determined to grab the opportunity handed to him by coach Antonio Conte with both hands.

"I am a positive guy," he said. "It's rare that I put the blame on someone else for something that didn't go well.

"If so much time has passed since my last Italy call-up, it means it was entirely my fault. I am now completely mature, both physically and psychologically.

"I had to take the long way round, but I got here eventually. It's better late than never.

"It's a very special feeling being back, it's wonderful to be part of this group."