Italy should start with Antonio Di Natale in Thursday’s Euro 2012 game against Croatia, says Salvatore Schillaci.
The Udinese hitman scored in the Azzurri’s 1-1 draw against Spain on Sunday, but that may not be enough for him to break-up the Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli strike partnership.
“Di Natale has to start games from the first minute,” Schillaci, Italy’s top scorer at the 1990 World Cup, told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“At that point Cesare Prandelli will then have to decide whether to partner him with Balotelli or Cassano, by taking into account that Di Natale prefers to play as a centre-forward.
“He is a great player, one who is able to score with his first chance. He has character, experience, super technique and he’s scored a load of goals over the last few seasons.
“You don’t become Serie A Capocannoniere by chance in Italy. I’d play him all of the time because who scores goals has to be confirmed in a team.
“Out of all the Azzurri strikers he is the most similar to me, but he scores more goals than I did.”
Boss Prandelli says he has one doubt in terms of team selection ahead of today’s tie, but it looks like Cassano and Balotelli will be given another chance.
“I liked what Cassano did against Spain, he moved well,” the former Juventus man added. “Mario looked a little unhappy. He is strong technically though and can fight, I think he has a great future ahead of him.”
Croatia currently lead Group C after their 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland, but Schillaci doesn’t think that a win would be vital.
“Croatia did well against Ireland and they now have the good fortune of being able to play for a draw,” he noted.
“But looking at the group, a point wouldn’t be a bad result for us either seeing as they’ll play Spain in the last game. If we win then I think our qualification will be done and dusted.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.