Cesare Prandelli has reflected on Giuseppe Rossi’s bid to prove his fitness in time to make Italy’s World Cup squad: “In him I see something wonderful.”
The 27-year-old only returned to first team action for Fiorentina in the closing rounds of the season following a four-month lay-off with a knee injury.
However, having taken part in Italy’s pre-World Cup training camp at Coverciano for the past two weeks, as a member of Prandelli’s 30-man provisional squad, Rossi has a chance to prove himself in tomorrow’s friendly at Craven Cottage with Republic of Ireland.
“Any doubts will remain inside of me, I will not deal with them now,” Prandelli has reflected on the striker’s bid to make the 23 man squad for Brazil.
“In Rossi I see something particularly wonderful - his inner serenity, his desire to overcome the difficulties, not only physical.
“It is clear, however, that then there is a game. We have to put aside the emotion, the feeling towards this guy who has the human and technical capacity to be a champion.
“We need to put a seal on the pressure, on the physical challenge and mentally set him free.
“Am I optimistic about Rossi? Yes, for how preparations are going. Rossi has passed all the physical tests, he is not a risk from this point of view.
“If we find a ‘killer’ then it is a different matter. We want to understand if psychologically certain movements can be made.
“Is his condition optimum? He played an hour at the end of the season and with us has been working non-stop for 10 days - tomorrow he will face the game with the right focus, we will see.
“I have already explained what we are going to look at with the choices, I am convinced that in these recent days he has worked especially well for this game because he also knows that he must conquer a little fear. He knows, tomorrow will be his first match of the World Cup.”
Prandelli reflected on how work at Coverciano has gone these past two weeks.
“Yes we are satisfied, everyone has responded positively. It was a phase in which we asked for character and suffering, and all have responded well. The condition is there, but we also need the ability to suffer and endure certain situations. I want to mix the squad.
“The fittest among us? Here is a group of guys who are more or less all on the same level. They are all ready, prepared, have all worked with the greatest concentration and attention.
“Tomorrow’s game? I do not fear injury, I hope not. We know they are good, they play with a 4-4-1-1, they are a physical team and we must be good because we will have to responded with character to their style of football.
“Matches now have a non-linear fashion, so tomorrow night we will first have the difficulty in opposing them at a physical level.
“I have to evaluate the appearance and character of the team - we could be clumsy, slow, but we must have the strength to look forward.
“We are in a difficult group, a demanding one. We must try to make it difficult for these teams. They are undervalued by many, but not by us.
“England arrive with five or six new players who have had extraordinary seasons.”
The CT was asked about his contract, which was finally signed this week, months after having been first confirmed. Attention has centred recently on the financial aspects to the deal.
“I had a contract with Fiorentina, when I was called by the Federation. I did not know the numbers, I signed blindly. On the renewal, I have not done a deal with the Federation based on the economic aspect.
“It is a subject of which I speak without embarrassment. The figures suggested are wrong.
“With the national team, you do not have to think about a business plan, it is an honour. If we want to address the economic issue then let’s, without embarrassment.”
Prandelli reflected on one particular hope from his Italy team this summer.
“Our goal is to bring the people closer to the Azzurri, we have to leave Italy with a sense of patriotism.
“At this time people do not like the national team, the jersey, the anthem, they are all against everything. Our message can be extraordinary, we must excite.”
Antonio Cassano is back with the Italy squad after almost two years away.
“He has presented himself well, no-one has complained - his degree of tolerance is high, the results have been good.”