Darmian: ‘Impossible to replace Hakimi’

Matteo Darmian believes it is ‘impossible’ to replace Achraf Hakimi, but hopes to earn an Italy call-up in the future.

The Italian right-back is a regular starter under Simone Inzaghi after Hakimi’s move to PSG in the summer.

“I think it’s impossible to replace an important player such as Hakimi. He is among the best in this position and I always try to give my best to help the team, listening to the coach,” Darmian said at a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash against Shakhtar.

“I feel the trust of my teammates, the coaches and the club and this pushes me to improve and help the team to achieve our goals.”

The 31-year-old made his senior Italy debut in 2014, but hasn’t played with the Azzurri for more than four years.

His last game in an Azzurri shirt was the play-off match against Sweden at San Siro in 2017, which saw Italy fail to gain access to the 2018 World Cup.

Inzaghi: ‘Win against Napoli will help Inter in Champions League’

“If [Italy CT Roberto] Mancini calls me, I would love it. I have to continue to work and do well like the whole team,” Darmian said.

“I was convinced to move to Parma because I wanted to get regular playing time after two seasons [at Man United]. I was proud when Inter called me and I didn’t think twice about a move.

“I try to give my best, for now, we are all doing it and we must continue.”

Inter will qualify for the Champions League last 16 with a game to spare if they beat Shakhtar tomorrow and Sheriff don’t beat Real Madrid.

“We must have the right determination against Shakhtar, as against Napoli on Sunday. If we have the right attitude, we can create trouble for them,” the defender said.

“We have more experience than last year, but we must remain humble and focused.”