Empoli midfielder Mirko Valdifiori admits he could not sleep due to excitement the night after he was marked by Wayne Rooney.
The 28-year-old made his Italy debut in Tuesday night's 1-1 friendly draw against England. Up against him for much of the night was Rooney playing in a deep role for the Three Lions -- a dream scenario for Valdifiori, even if it did mean that night he did not get to dream at all.
"It really was such a feeling to mark and be marked by someone like Rooney," he said at a news conference, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But the whole game was emotional, starting from singing the national anthem together with 30,000 people, arm in arm with my teammates.
"There's such a feeling of belonging to your country in that moment, and it sticks within you. It's hard to explain. I slept very little that night because I was full of adrenaline. Making my national team debut was fantastic -- it was a magnificent evening which I got to experience after many years chasing this dream."
Italy coach Antonio Conte praised his latest debutant, although he did not need to pronounce such warm words to have Valdifiori's esteem.
"I had that as soon as he told me I was playing in such a tough game like against England, in such a great stadium," Valdifiori said. "The words Conte said as soon as he became national team coach, when he said he would only be taking notice of how players are performing on the field, gave motivation to somebody like me.
"I always try to express myself on the field. [Empoli coach Maurizio] Sarri was happy for me and he complimented me. He said he'd seen the player he had been coaching for these years.
"I have the advantage of knowing what Conte wants because he has pretty much the same footballing ideas as my club coach, which is to get the ball to the forwards as quickly as possible."