Cesare Prandelli has explained the reasoning behind his young Italy selection and revealed that Mario Balotelli, when fit, will take a major role.
Prandelli has named an experimental Azzurri squad for next Wednesday’s friendly with England, calling up 11 uncapped players, with late replacement Diego Fabbrini making it 12 in total reporting for training on Monday.
Whilst Napoli and Juventus players were absent through their Super Cup commitment in China, the Commissario Tecnico revealed that the thinking behind his squad was influenced predominantly with a two-plan to build up to the World Cup in mind.
“The idea is to prepare for the next two years from the start by knowing which young players are ready to make the grade,” the 54-year-old told the assembled media today.
“That is the challenge on Wednesday night against England and it is very important. I have in the eyes of many of the new Azzurri the desire to get started on the right foot.
“We want to continue to grow from the European Championships, now that we have earned more credibility with the public. Already in Bern I want a strong impact, a team that knows its place, with the right tempo.
“Now we must raise the bar by enriching what is already good. What I expect is to continue in the manner of how we play to arrive at a result, while increasing the gloss and strength in our finishing.
“For this the department that will get more attention will be the attack.
The strikers called up by Prandelli, including the withdrawn Balotelli and his replacement Fabbrini, are all aged 22 or younger. The CT reflected that whilst this is makes for experimental front-line it isn’t one that more experienced forwards such as Antonio Cassano are guaranteed to walk straight back into.
“I want players with different characteristics to assess with the future in mind, but there will be no short cut for Antonio or any others. Look what happened with Antonio Di Natale.
“We were hoping that Balotelli would recover, but it is not so. I want to give him an important role this time, for his part he should take this responsibility.”
Prandelli also had some words on Alberto Aquilani, who he left out of his Euro 2012 squad and Marco Verratti, who made the provisional selection for that tournament but also narrowly missed the final cut.
“Aquilani has great qualities, we know that. Now I expect continuity and he can find that at Fiorentina. Verratti has technique and personality, it is too bad that our League was not able to hold on to him, maybe we needed to be faster so as to not see him end up abroad.”