Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini says he still 'feels good' at the Stadium of Light, but also admitted to suffering pangs of homesickness since his £6.8m switch from Juventus last summer.
Giaccherini featured from the start for Antonio Conte's men against the Netherlands in Bari yesterday evening, despite missing the opening of the Premier League campaign for Sunderland due to a minor injury picked up during pre-season. Having made his comeback in the Capital One Cup win over Birmingham City last month, he was then drafted into the Azzurri set-up by former boss at club level Conte and given the full ninety minutes to prove his worth.
Speaking to the assembled Italian media after helping his country to a handsome 2-0 triumph over the World Cup semi-finalists, the 29-year-old said: "I feel good in England because I think the Premier League is the most beautiful in the world at this moment.
“But, you can never say never because there is still homesickness.”
Meanwhile, Gus Poyet has expressed his delight at Giaccherini's recent return from injury.
"To have him back is fantastic for us because this is the best I’ve seen him,” said Poyet.
“Throughout pre-season, and since he’s come back from an injury setback, he has been great.
“But the competition for places in our midfield now is massive, massive - it’s even difficult to make the bench now.
“That’s where you can win football games though, with the options among the substitutes.”
The ex-Cesena star was linked with a return back to his homeland in the early weeks of the transfer window, with Fiorentina said to be especially keen. However, Giaccherini returned to pre-season training full of enthusiasm in an effort to gain a regular place in the side and his versatility could assist him greatly to that end, something not lost on Poyet.
"I think Giacchy can be used in four positions,” explained the Uruguayan.
“He’s capable of playing in the two wide and the two central midfield ones. In terms of how we use him, it will depend on the individual game and what we want out of it.
“I’m very pleased with Giacchy.”
With Tottenham Hotspur up next for the Black Cats, Giaccherini will be hoping to figure in Poyet's thoughts ahead of that fixture once he comes back into the fold following international duty.