(Reuters) - Former Italy captain Daniele De Rossi has joined Roberto Mancini's national team staff as technical coach, the Italian Federation said on Thursday.
Ex-AS Roma midfielder De Rossi is fourth on Italys' all-time appearance list having played 117 times for the Azzurri, and takes up his first coaching role after retiring from playing last year when he left Boca Juniors.
"I’m proud to start this new career with the national team and I thank both President (Gabriele) Gravina and coach Mancini for the opportunity," De Rossi was quoted as saying on the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) official website.
"It will be exciting to return to Coverciano (Italy's training base), which for me means coming back home and finding many former colleagues and friends in the staff and the group. I can’t wait to get started."
Italy host Northern Ireland in their opening World Cup 2022 Group C qualifier next Thursday and visit Bulgaria in their second match three days later.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)