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Football: AMO: BOB CAN DO A JOB AFTER HIS CAP CALL-UP.

Byline: MARK GUIDI

LORENZO AMORUSO is surrounded by international stars at Ibrox - from experienced players like Ronald de Boer and Claudio Caniggia to those on the first rung of the international football ladder.

Amo's Rangers team-mates Mo Ross and Stevie Thompson have both made an impact as Scotland rookies and now Bob Malcolm is the latest to answer the cap call.

But as the cap honours fly around him it is not lost on the big defender that after almost a decade at the top he has never had a sniff of a full cap for Italy.

Current Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni has repeatedly ignored the Rangers man - as did Cesare Maldini and Dino Zoff before him.

Amoruso remains bitter at the snubs and blames being overlooked on the fact that he he isn't playing in Serie A.

He said: "It is a lot to do with the mentality of the national manager. In Italy, we don't seem able to look at different things and ideas.

"They don't even look at players outside the Italian League. Myself and other Italians who have moved abroad have discussed the situation many times.

"I deserve to be in before some of the guys who have been called up. It has never happened and that is a big regret in my heart but there is nothing I can do about it."

Amoruso isn't so bitter that he is unable to feel delight for his pal Malcolm who was called up by Berti Vogts for the friendly against Ireland on Wednesday.

Bob has come a long way from the raw, inexperienced teenager who was nudged off the ball by Henrik Larsson as the Celtic man scored against Rangers two years ago in the Parkhead side's CIS Cup semi-final victory.

Malcolm has had 17 starts this season and was outstanding for the Scotland Future side in Germany last December when he scored in the 3- 3 draw in Mainz.

Amo said: "I'm pleased for Bob. It is good for him, the club and the manager. He played well last season and has continued his form this term, getting his chance when Craig Moore or myself have been ruled out.

"There's no doubt about it - Bob always comes in and does a great job.

"I am happy for him because he works hard, listens to advice and tries to improve. It's good when professionals like that are rewarded.

"He uses the ball well and while he is not the fastest in the world, he makes up for that with his ability to read situations and intercept things. These are fine qualities to have.

"However, he is still young and has a lot to learn. Getting into the Scotland squad will have given him a huge boost."

Amoruso will have the pleasure of a free midweek as the Ibrox dressing- room will be almost empty with so many his team-mates om international duty.

But the big stopper will still put in a good week's training to keep him sharp and ready for the vital last months of the season as Gers chase a domestic treble.

And Amo is praying he doesn't pick up more injuries that would rule him out of Alex McLeish's squad for the glory push.

He said: "This season has been really frustrating. At the begining I played a few games then missed some with injury.

"I came back again and the same thing happened. It has been stop-start and it's difficult to be in your best condition when you are picking up so many stupid injuries.

"And after feeling great following the week's training at our winter camp in Dubai I picked up a head injury. Thankfully I wasn't out for too long.

"I just hope to stay fit for the rest of the season because every game we have left is an important one and I want to be playing in all of them.

"This is an exciting time and nobody wants to miss out."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 9, 2003
Words:662
Previous Article:Fooball: Join stars at Gers awards.
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