Salvatore Sirigu player profile: The goalkeeper who will replace Gianluigi Buffon for England v Italy

Azzuri have to turn to reserve stopper for game in Manaus

Italy have been rocked by the news that Gianluigi Buffon will be unavailable for their opening game of the World Cup against England.

The Juventus stopper suffered a knock to his ankle in training meaning he misses the Group D opener in Manaus.

So who will the Azzuri turn to? The answer: Salvatore Sirigu.

While for many teams, including England, the No 1 would be a struggle to replace, Italy are blessed with a top rated reserve.

Sirigu plays his football for Paris St Germain, the mega-rich French champions. Inclusion in a club squad alongside the likes of Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a clear indicator in itself of the quality that will be between the sticks against England.

The 27-year-old made his international debut for Italy in London, although not against England, but in a friendly with Ivory Coast. His most recent match was also in the capital, a warm-up match against Republic of Ireland at Craven Cottage.

 

In total Sirigu has eight caps for his country - a figure more reflective of Buffon's standing than his own ability.

The Nuoro born player switched from Palermo to PSG in 2011 and during that time has picked up two French league titles and helped take the Qatari backed side into the knock-out stages of the Champions League twice.

Buffon was ruled out with an ankle injury  

Known for his shot-stopping ability, his form last season saw him voted the goalkeeper of the year in Ligue 1.

There are few doubts over the ability of Sirigu, but his lack of games for the Azzuri coupled with the last-minute nature of his inclusion should be a source of encouragement for Roy Hodgson's side.

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