Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli demands more investment in youth academies. “If you can’t afford to buy champions, you need to create them.”
The Nazionale boss spoke to the Gazzetta dello Sport in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“Italy has great potential, but we’ve got to stick to some rules, objectives and get ourselves back on track. No more waiting, as the time has come to sow the seeds for future success.
“There’s no time for jealousy or focusing on our own little patch of land. We should sow the seeds and remember the harvest will be for the good of everyone.
“If you can’t afford to buy champions, then you need to create them in-house. This is why I constantly urge development of youth academies. That is where we must invest.”
Prandelli admits his job as Italy Coach is made more difficult by the influx of foreign players, as younger Italians aren’t given a chance to shine.
“The problem isn’t mine, but of Italian football. When we arrive in Brazil and our national anthem is played, we mustn’t complain that the Azzurri have little international experience. Every Coach would love to train a national team that brings together players who gained experience at club level and brought that back to the squad.
“In my case, it was the other way round. I had to call more than 60 players because so few get to measure themselves up against the best in Europe. If anything, playing for Italy gave these players more international experience.
“Brazil prepared for and won the Confederations Cup by giving the priority to the Seleçao. Last year they planned the Italian Super Cup in Beijing four days before a FIFA-imposed friendly.”
Prandelli also has complaints about the stadiums and the crushing pressure placed around Serie A sides.
“The context and surroundings help you to play better. Overseas the teams go into games with a completely different spirit and when it’s over, if you’ve given your all, there’s a pat on the back and you’re off. In Italy it is always treated like the match of your life and fans are called up in a way that is frankly a bit much for what is still a game.”