Cesare Prandelli apologised to Domenico Criscito and hopes to “have doubts to the last minute” about which 23 to bring to the World Cup.
The Coach sat down with journalists for his Press conference this afternoon on the first day of training for the tournament in Brazil.
He has a 30-man provisional squad – plus Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante in case of injury – which will need to be whittled down to 23.
“I hope that I have doubts to the last minute, as that will mean all 30 arrived with enthusiasm and hunger. I hope that the media get involved in this campaign too. We represent all of Italy,” said Prandelli.
“They must all be aware that even in a few minutes they can still make their mark on the field. We must all put aside the ‘I’ and remember to be a team.”
Several big names were dropped and made no secret of their irritation, most notably Zenit defender Criscito.
Prandelli reacted to this by declaring “it’s not as if I left behind Antonio Cabrini or Paolo Maldini,” but now regrets that comment.
“I didn’t cut anyone who had just played a Champions League Final. Having said that, I want to apologise to Criscito for the joke I made about Cabrini and Maldini. It was out of place and I didn’t want to get into the technical merits of the exclusion.
“Alberto Gilardino and Luca Toni? I admire them a great deal, but we want to manoeuvre in attack in a different way. It is a message for our strikers.”
Prandelli has been criticised for snubbing these veterans in favour of players like Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Mattia Destro who have barely played for Italy at senior level.
“I don’t think a lack of experience is as decisive compared to enthusiasm, pace, stamina and the desire to be protagonists. This is why I made certain choices and lowered the average age of the squad.
“We have some references for the physical aspect and over the next few days will try to transmit our idea of football to the lads. Based on all these elements, we will make our decisions.”
This would again suggest Prandelli is leaning towards the ‘False 9’ system, having admired Antonio Cassano’s new version of the role at Parma.
“We won’t have one single tactical approach, as we must be versatile and at the same time determined and precise going forward and back.”