Juan Iturbe is determined to build on an indifferent start to life at Roma and stay injury-free during the Serie A club’s upcoming season.
Having earned a move from Verona during an impressive 2013-14 campaign, Iturbe failed to live up to his big-money move at the Stadio Olimpico as he struggled with fitness setbacks.
The former Porto forward managed four goals in 37 appearances for Rudi Garcia’s side, but is determined to demonstrate his quality this season.
“I want to start well, that’s important for a long season,” he told reporters at Roma’s Pinzolo training camp.
“There’s always criticism whether you play well or not, but I don’t care what they say. I only listen to the coach and my team-mates.
“I’m strong mentally, even when I wasn’t doing well I kept working hard to improve. I hope not to get injured this season and am just focused on working hard.
“I’m still young and I’m hungry to learn by giving 100 per cent in training.
“When I arrived I was desperate to reproduce what I did at Verona, but perhaps I should have taken things more slowly. I hope to do well from the word go this season.”
Having fallen 17 points short of Serie A winners Juventus last term, Roma have strengthened with the likes of Spanish winger Iago Falque while also buying Cagliari’s share in Radja Nainggolan.
Striking pair Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Mitrovic are both reported targets and Iturbe is keen to see the club continue to recruit.
“It’s a positive move. Iago is a great player so it’s good for us,” he added.
“The coach will choose the player who’s performing the best. Gervinho and Adem Ljajic are here too and they can both play in our position.
“We’re a strong team, I said that when I arrived here. It’ll be very difficult this year – Inter and Milan are both strengthening. I hope a few more players arrive he so we become even stronger.”