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Bulgaria - Italy Preview: Verratti vows to be Azzurri's midfield general

Marco Verratti is ready to be pull the strings in the absence of Andrea Pirlo when Italy aim to make it a miserable first competitive game in charge for Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev on Saturday.

Pirlo has been ruled out of the Euro 2016 Group H qualifier at the Stadion Vasil Levski due to a calf injury, while Daniele De Rossi is also unavailable for the same reason.

Italy coach Antonio Conte has urged Verratti to "take the reins" in Sofia and the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has vowed to take his chance.

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