Wembley glory bid for Lupoli
The striker Norwich City discarded en route to relegation is desperate to play his part in what he hopes will be a Wembley promotion party.Italian forward Arturo Lupoli is in the Sheffield United squad preparing for Monday's Championship play-off final against Burnley.
The striker Norwich City discarded en route to relegation is desperate to play his part in what he hopes will be a Wembley promotion party.
Italian forward Arturo Lupoli is in the Sheffield United squad preparing for Monday's Championship play-off final against Burnley.
The 21-year-old scored five times in 20 appearances for the Canaries before his season-long loan from Fiorentina was cut short and he switched to Bramall Lane at the start of February.
After scoring twice in nine outings - but only two starts - for Kevin Blackwell's Blades, he is hoping to get the chance to help them back into the Premier League after a two-year absence.
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“I came from Norwich to a club that is competing for honours and promotion at the other end of the table,” he said.
“That is why it is hard to break in and nobody would want to change things a lot when things are going well.
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“But I am pleased with my goal return in relation to the matches that I have played.”
Lupoli has bitter-sweet memories of the new Wembley Stadium after appearing in the first international fixture on the ground for Italy Under-21s when they drew 3-3 with England in March 2007, but being left out of the Derby squad when they beat West Bromwich Albion in the Championship play-off final the same year.
“With Derby I didn't get to play. With the national team I played 20, 25 minutes, so I can't wait to be playing on that field again and get a good result,” said Lupoli.
“I am looking forward to Monday and hopefully I will be able to get on the pitch. The most important thing is the result and I will be ready and totally focused if the manager needs me.
“It will be close and there will be lots of emotional things that will happen.
“It could be won in the first or the last minute and, whenever the manager decides he needs me, I will be ready.”
Lupoli was signed by former City boss Glenn Roeder last July but after scoring three times in his first six appearances, he was sparingly used.
After Roeder was sacked, he appeared as a substitute in Bryan Gunn's first three games in charge before joining United on loan for the rest of the season. But now he wants his next move to be a permanent one.
“The time to talk about my future is after this game,” he said.
“The situation is still open. But I won't be going anywhere on loan.
“Fiorentina have the final say but, if they chose to let me go, then I will only go permanently.
“Recently I have had to change every six months and that is very hard. Your team-mates change, your environment changes and so does the way you play.
“I want to be able to stay somewhere for two, three or four years.
“If United want me to stay and there is an opportunity to make a good number of appearances then we will see what happens. But, of course, only the manager here can decide that.”
Lupoli's first taste of Wembley has left him hungry for more.
“I am part of the history of the first game,” he said. “I was there with Derby a few months later and it will be nice to go there again with Sheffield United. I have got the programmes from those matches and my friend from Fiorentina, Giampaolo Pazzini, scored a hat-trick and has got the matchball.
“The atmosphere was great even though it wasn't full and Wembley is such a beautiful stadium. Just to think who has been in and around that stadium makes me feel a big part of things.
“Nothing has changed since then, it is still an unbelievable stadium.
“The Italians see Wembley as a historic stadium and think the new one is fantastic. We want our own national stadium but I don't think that it will happen.”