Italy Under-21 Coach Devis Mangia confesses whittling down his European Championship squad was “the hardest moment of my career.”
The former Palermo boss had a long-list of 28 players, but today announced the final 23 going to the tournament in Israel.
“It was the hardest moment of my career,” he said in a Press conference. “I made these choices with the utmost honesty and believe they are the most functional for the team.
“What I would like to underline and was enormously pleasing was that the players who are not in the final list of 23 still wanted to stay here training with their teammates for the last couple of days. That was a wonderful signal.”
Mangia had to carve up the squad with Cesare Prandelli, as Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Mario Balotelli are going to the Confederations Cup instead.
Other talents who have crossed over to the senior squad, such as Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne, Fabio Borini and Alessandro Florenzi, are in the Under-21 side.
“Verratti is an intelligent player who is helped by his teammates. During the second half of the season at PSG he played with the same tactical system we use, so that is helpful.
“We are working towards the European Championships and it is a coincidence that the tactical approach used by our first opponents – England – is the same as that adopted by many teams in the tournament. It means all our work is good for the opening game and the competition going forward.”
Italy’s European Under-21 Championships open on June 5 against England.