"We're on the right track, but we're not the new Golden Team," says the head coach (Photo: Miklós Szabó)

– Did you miss the team?
– Of course! – said Marco Rossi, the 58-year-old Italian head coach of the Hungarian national team. – As always, the summer break was long this time, too. But anyone who takes charge of a national team must calculate with the fact that between June and September, and November and March, he will hardly meet his players. But we were not bored: my colleagues and I watched a lot of matches, and we have followed the international cup matches of Hungarian clubs since the beginning of July, as well as those of foreign teams with players who could be considered for the national team.

– Reassure me that you've also taken some time to rest!
– I was on holiday with my family back home in Italy. We closed a long season on June 14 with a match in Wolverhampton, so it was nice to relax a bit in the company of my loved ones. As time went by, we had to think about who we could replace the missing players with. Because the absence of two of our injured footballers, Roland Sallai and Zsolt Nagy, who have scored four of our seven goals in the Nations League so far, are affecting us. This is not the best omen for the two games ahead.

– Who are replacing them?
– We'll find out in Leipzig on Friday... As it is said, there is no indispensable man. We also believe in it, but I must warn you: we will feel their absence to some extent. I spoke to Roland Sallai after his surgery. He will definitely not play for three or four weeks, and I hope that the forced break will not last longer than that and that he will be able to play in the two preparation matches in November. I would also be very happy if Zsolt Nagy could also be available in November. I understand that he is training this week and, although he will obviously need time to get back into shape, I would like to call him up again for the games against Luxembourg and Greece.

– Speaking of Zsolt Nagy: June was probably his month as he shed tears of joy after his goal against Germany. How do you see the Puskás Akadémia defender's journey with the national team?
– Last fall, after almost two years, he was able to put on the national team jersey again. I received a lot of criticism when I invited him, but it may turn out that I was right... Of course, I am aware that I am the head coach of Hungary and that the national team does not belong to me or anyone else but to the nation. With all due respect to the fans, and believe me, when I make a decision, I make it in the hope that it is in the best interests of the national team, and therefore the country. Not to mention the fact that we are constantly monitoring the footballers, we receive accurate information on a daily basis, we know practically every move they make. No one has ever been invited to the team without having earned it with his performance. I am not an enemy of my team or myself for having a player on the national team who is not worthy of it. And perhaps you will accept it if I say that after forty years in football, I know something about the game... So, we were not wrong to give Zsolt Nagy a vote of confidence. I must add that he has improved a great deal in the last two years because he has worked hard for it. The extra work he has put into got him this far.

– László Kleinheisler was mentioned as a big comeback after Wednesday's announcement.
– He has missed the last three games due to injury, so I'm glad to have him back. Perhaps I'm even more glad that he is in good form. I like footballers with his mentality who always give their best. Sometimes it can indeed be counter-productive because you can get over-excited, but he's improved a lot in that area recently. He subordinates everything to team interests - he does too. One of the secrets of our team is that no one puts themselves first, everyone says what I say: team comes first. It's worth watching the footage of our game against England, for example, because it shows how much our captain, Ádám Szalai, helped us in defense, making several saves inside our penalty area. Or there is Dominik Szoboszlai who sprinted back 80 meters to help the defenders after a botched attempt. We wouldn't have seen that from him a year or two ago... The point is that everyone is committed to the national team, and everyone wants to contribute something to the squad.

László Kleinheisler is back in the national team squad and is looking forward to the matches in good shape (Photo: AFP)


– Will at least one of the three potential newcomers, Milos Kerkez, Péter Baráth, and Attila Mocsi, have the opportunity to do so?

– We shall see. Milos Kerkez and Péter Baráth have already trained with the senior team, we know their strengths. Milos Kerkez deserves all the credit for his performance in the Netherlands, he has become a key player for AZ Alkmaar, it is good to see him play regularly in a good team in a good league. If he continues like this, he can do a lot for the Hungarian national team in the future. Attila Mocsi will be training with us for the first time, so I am curious to see what he can do. He plays well in his club Zalaegerszeg, he has speed, his headshot is good, and his through passes are excellent. He's still young, he has time and potential to develop. I'm really interested to see how he fits into the national team. Our aim is to build more and more young players into the team.

Goalkeepers: Dénes Dibusz
 (Ferencvárosi TC), Péter Gulácsi (RB Leipzig – Germany), Péter Szappanos (Budapest Honvéd FC)
 Bendegúz Bolla (Grasshoppers – Switzerland), Endre Botka (Ferencvárosi TC), Attila Fiola (Mol Fehérvár FC), Ákos Kecskés (LASK – Austria), Ádám Lang (Omonia – Cyprus), Attila Mocsi (Zalaegerszegi TE FC), Willi Orbán (RB Leipzig – Germany), Attila Szalai (Fenerbahce – Türkiye)
 Péter Baráth (Debreceni VSC), Milos Kerkez (AZ – Netherlands), László Kleinheisler (NK Osijek – Croatia), Ádám Nagy (AC Pisa – Italy), Loïc Négo Loic (Mol Fehérvár FC), András Schäfer (FC Union Berlin – Germany, Callum Styles (Millwall FC – England), Bálint Vécsei (Ferencvárosi TC)
Attackers: Martin Ádám (Ulsan Hyundai – South Korea), Dániel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union – United States), Ádám Szalai (FC Basel – Switzerland), Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig – Germany), Zalán Vancsa (Lommel SK – Belgium), Kevin Varga (Hatayspor – Türkiye)


September 23, 8.45pm: 
September 26, 8.45: 

1. Hungary 4 2 1 1 7–3 +4 7
2. Germany 4 1 3 8–5 +3 6
3. Italy 4 1 2 1 5–7 –2 5
4. England 4 2 2 1–6 –5 2

Translated by Vanda Orosz