Cesare Prandelli has named his starting XI for Italy’s friendly with France, a 4-3-3 including Marco Verratti, Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy.
It had already been reported that the Coach was going to adopt the system for tomorrow evening’s game at the Stadio Tardini in Parma.
Prandelli rattled off this list of players: Sirigu; Maggio, Chiellini, Barzagli, Balzaretti; Montolivo, Verratti, Marchisio, Candreva, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
“El Shaarawy will play in the position he already uses at Milan, Balotelli will be the centre-forward and Candreva plays on the right.
“I will ask the attacking players to flood the area and seek depth in going for the goal. El Shaarawy and Antonio Candreva have very attacking characteristics and the midfield must work to support them.
“The internal midfielders must not just bring balance, but also participate in the attack and go for goal.
“In terms of possession, as we do not have a fourth midfielder then we will have to keep the ball less and surge forward more, while without the ball we need to repeat the same attitude we had in recent outings.”
It is a special game for Verratti and Salvatore Sirigu, who both play in France with Paris Saint-Germain.
“I expect Verratti to grow in terms of character. He is gaining experience, but mustn’t feel too much pressure on his shoulders. He needs to do his job without thinking about over-doing it.”
The Coach also called up Newcastle United full-back Davide Santon and Roma’s Under-21 international midfielder Alessandro Florenzi.
“We want to play a ‘real’ game, so these lads will only be introduced later on in the day. As for Balotelli, I expect to see the same effort he put in against Denmark.
“France are a great team who want to win this, even if it is a friendly, so we must not lower our guard. We want to give the fans emotions and a spectacle,” pointed out Prandelli in his Press conference.
“I am intrigued to see the character of these lads. France are renewing their squad and showed against Spain that they have become more versatile, practical and balanced. They are a very attacking team who try to make the most of width.”
Italy line-up:Sirigu; Maggio, Chiellini, Barzagli, Balzaretti; Montolivo, Verratti, Marchisio, Candreva, Balotelli, El Shaarawy