Inter Milan teenager Davide Santon is hoping to emulate Paolo Maldini and Giuseppe Bergomi after being included in Italy's squad for the Confederations Cup.
The uncapped 18-year-old, who can play both left and right-back, has earned his call-up after being a key member of Inter's Serie A winning squad.
He was thrust into Inter's side by coach Jose Mourinho in January and impressed with his calmness under pressure, earning comparisons with the recently retired Maldini.
Italy boss Marcello Lippi called Santon up for the first time for this Saturday's friendly against Northern Ireland in Pisa and has opted to take him to South Africa after watching him in training.
"I hope to become the Maldini of Inter. He was an example and he always will be," said Santon.
"I would be happy to do half of what Paolo has done in football."
He also hopes to emulate Inter stalwart Giuseppe Bergomi, who won the World Cup with Italy in Spain in 1982 as a 19-year-old full-back.
Santon added: "I hope I can have his chance, but a lot will depend on what I do next season."
American-born striker Giuseppe Rossi was also among the 10 players Italian boss Lippi added to 13 he announced last week for next Wednesday's Pretoria friendly with New Zealand and the Confederations Cup which follows.
Others included are goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, defenders Nicola Legrottaglie, Alessandro Gamberini, Fabio Grosso and Andrea Dossena and midfielders Gennaro Gattuso, Riccardo Montolivo and Angelo Palombo.
Italy squad for the Confederations Cup, 14-28 June - Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Marco Amelia (Palermo), Morgan De Sanctis (Galatasaray).
Defenders: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Andrea Dossena (Liverpool), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Lyon), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Davide Santon (Inter Milan), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)
Forwards: Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich)