Grifo: "I want to get stuck in"

Vincenzo Grifo is back at TSG Hoffenheim after completing a six-month loan spell at SC Freiburg. The 26-year-old midfielder, who has made a very good impression in friendly fixtures and training sessions since his return to the Kraichgau, has high hopes for the season ahead.

Vince, you got married over the summer. You posted some great pictures of the festivities; it looks like it was a fabulous party.

"It was an incredible party that I'll never forget. An Italian evening with a lot of atmosphere, a lot of people and good food. Just wonderful. It's not every day that you tie the knot. Although I'd already been with my wife for a long time, it marks the start of a new chapter in my life. And that gives me a push for TSG too."

How are you feeling ahead of the new season?

"I have a spring in my step. It was made clear that I'd return after half a season on loan. The time in Freiburg really helped me. Now I'm really happy to be back here. We have a new coach and he has brought in a new philosophy. I feel totally at home. I want to get stuck in and recreate the energy I had in Freiburg."

Do you feel you might get more opportunities under Alfred Schreuder than you did under Julian Nagelsmann?

"Julian did outstanding work for three years. Last season, when I joined TSG for the second time from Gladbach, there were a lot of players in the squad. It just didn't work out for me. That's why I wanted to go out on loan, which was a total success. I don't really want to talk in detail about the past. Let's just put it this way: new game, new luck."

You notched six goals and five assists in the second half of the season. Could your very good set-pieces from that Freiburg spell become a strength for TSG too?

"Everything came off just perfectly in the two friendlies against Braunschweig and Regensburg. I want to show the same power I had in Freiburg  where I got a few goals and assists  here in Hoffenheim. Set-pieces are important; they can offer you a way in and be the difference in matches. I thank the Lord that he gave me this talent, this foot."

You returned to TSG as the No. 10 for the Italian national team, having made your debut for the Squadra Azzurra last season. Just what significance does that carry for you?

"It's just unbelievable. You can't begin to imagine what was going on at our house when I came on as a substitute in the match against the USA. And wearing the number 10 on my shirt to boot. I once bought a replica Italy shirt at the market for €5; now I have a real one at home. I'd need two hours to explain the full story surrounding my debut. There's nothing better as a footballer. I still get goose bumps now. If you dream about something for years on end and then don't enjoy it, don't get emotional, then you're not a human being."

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