Antonio Conte has made clear what will come into his consideration when selecting players for Italy, including Mario Balotelli.
The Lecce-born Coach was clear in stating that he wants players to earn their place with his Italy and do their best for the team.
“I don’t have prejudices against or favouritisms for anyone,” Conte has explained to the Gazzetta dello Sport, answering on a particular question relating to Balotelli.
“I don’t know whether going in England was a good or a bad choice [for Balotelli], but I do know that whoever makes it to the national team has to then earn the right to stay there.
“The person counts more than the footballer. I have always relied on people. I assess them from their feet up until their necks, or better: from their ankles, otherwise people will start talking about sponsors again.
“I don’t look at faces. And I don’t compromise: we have to be a team in order to reach something important.
“Talent comes after, first you have to put yourself at the service of the group, otherwise….”
Conte went on to further explain himself.
“When I was a player, I didn’t know what to do when I got the ball - I wasn’t like Zidane or Del Piero. I stopped it, looked around and as a result the whistles started coming.
“That’s why I want to give players that are less technically gifted, like I was, the possibility of memorised solutions that allow them to get into the game, knowing where the ball will go and where it comes from.
“In that way the less strong become better. I had pace, sense of insertion and heading ability, but assists were a problem.”