World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro believes there’s a reason Italy lack great defenders now.
The Azzurri have strong competition for places in midfield and attack, but Cesare Prandelli has a much smaller group to consider at the back.
“In my days we played in the streets and would touch the ball a thousand or two thousand times a day,” Cannavaro told Radio Deejay.
“Now they lack that sense memory with the ball. They play for an hour at football school and that’s it. We try to teach children tactics at that age, but that can be learned about later, whereas getting a feel for the ball and how to move it has to develop when they are still young.
“I listened to the ideas put forward at Coverciano, but I speak from years of experience. For example, last night in Denmark 2-2 Italy Federico Balzaretti should’ve been able to stop Nicklas Bendtner jumping so freely. You need to mark in the box, there’s no other way around it.” Watch highlights of that World Cup qualifier below.
Cannavaro has been impressed by Serie A leaders Roma, who conceded just one goal and scored 20.
“Today you have to defend with 11 men and Roma are the team who are doing that best at the moment. As Ciro Ferrara used to say, you’ve got to follow the striker even when he goes to the toilet.”