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Tattoos, luck & barbecued bananas: Borini returns to England with the bit between his teeth

Among the tattoos Fabio Borini has inked on his body, there is âÂÂThe Talking CricketâÂÂ. Like Jiminy was for Pinocchio in the Disney animation, he is supposed to represent the Italy international strikerâÂÂs conscience.

Whether the imaginary green insect recommended that the right thing for Borini to do this summer was leave Roma and transfer to Liverpool in a deal worth ã12m is unclear. But England, it seems, has almost always been his calling.

âÂÂI knew that sooner or later I would return,â he said.

This isnâÂÂt the first time Borini has played here. At 16, he took âÂÂa leap in the darkâ and joined the Chelsea academy. âÂÂI donâÂÂt like doing things the easy way,â he reflected. âÂÂIf you choose the comfiest solution, you never get to understand whatâÂÂs your maximum.âÂÂ

As expected, it was tough in the beginning. Borini, then just a teenager, missed home. He found adapting to a new culture and language difficult. With time, however, he grew fond of his new surroundings and a lot of that is thanks to his former landlord Keith.

âÂÂI owe a special recipe for the barbecue to him, a desert, I believe itâÂÂs his invention,â Borini explained. âÂÂYou cut a banana in half, leaving on the skin, cover it in chocolate, wrap it in foil, then put on the grill. When done, you unwrap it and eat it. Now whenever I have people round for dinner itâÂÂs my specialty.âÂÂ

So integrated did Borini become in the ways of the English that once back in Italy âÂÂI had great deal of difficulty getting used to left-hand drive again.âÂÂ

It was while playing for Chelsea reserves that he first came into contact with Brendan Rodgers. He then followed his mentor to Swansea for a loan spell in spring 2011 and proved decisive in their promotion to the Premier League.

On his return to Chelsea, Borini found that Carlo Ancelotti had been fired [âÂÂhe was a father to meâÂÂ] and the club were only prepared to offer him a one-year contract.

He went back to Italy with Parma, who sent him on loan to Roma. Borini was an unexpected success. He struck seven times in eight games, celebrating each of them as though he had a knife between his teeth. âÂÂIn Italy it means youâÂÂre a warrior; someone who never gives up.âÂÂ

Not the most naturally gifted of players, Borini makes up for it with a Dirk Kuyt-like work ethic. He runs up and down, up and down hence the nickname Nascar.

Yet heâÂÂs a sniffer too and has that intangible quality of popping up in the right place at exactly the right time. For that reason, Ancelotti has compared him with Pippo Inzaghi.

His integration will be helped by the experience of playing in England before, but also the continuity of philosophy between Rodgers and Luis Enrique, RomaâÂÂs former coach, who had his team try to play pass-it-out-from-the-back possession based football.

Borini will wear the No 29 shirt. For him, itâÂÂs a lucky number. He was born on that day of the month. Scored his first goal for the Italy Under-21s on that day of the month. And made his full international debut on that day of the month too.

Liverpool play Norwich on September 29, 2012. If Borini hasnâÂÂt opened his account for the club by that time, maybe expect it to come there and then.

For an exclusive interview with Fabio Borini, pick up the September 2012 edition of FourFourTwo, out now.