“I am very happy with my first call-up for the senior Italy squad," Cristante told Mediaset Premium.
“I had gone rather off the radar, so I'm extremely pleased now. I rushed here and I'll relish every minute. I come to the Nazionale with great hunger and fresh legs, now it's up to me to do well.
“I have to above all thank (Atalanta Coach Gian Piero) Gasperini, as this call-up is also thanks to him."
Cristante's father is from Canada, so he has dual citizenship.
“It's true Canada approached me many times to play for them, but I am very happy to be here now."