Italy boss Giampiero Ventura admits he “misses” Juventus pair Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio but will look to youth against Albania and Netherlands.
Fitness concerns prevented Chiellini and Marchisio from making Ventura’s squad for the upcoming international break, but veteran CT assured he would not abandon his “direction” of bringing through Italy’s next generation, even with the Juve stalwarts included.
“Meeting the group after three months, there’s an awareness of the importance of the match,” he began.
“The result is vital. There’s a desire to participate, the players are very calm, despite being aware of the game, a delicate one.
“I miss Chiellini and Marchisio. They know this perfectly well because I told them. They need time to find their best shape.
“The Champions League? Since I left club football, I dedicated myself more to other things.
“Playing at Palermo? I don’t choose the stadiums, I’ve never been involved in these things. I was present in Genoa, then at Marseille when they played France and three-quarters of the fans were Albanians. I assume they’ll fill up Palermo too.
“It’s a historic game, it’s the first time we’ll face them [in competitive football]. Palermo has never disappointed in terms of support.
“I know that we’ll play against Israel in Reggio Emilia ... the problem is how we get there, with what lucidity.
“Youngsters? Some of them still have to grow. Before Spain, we play Uruguay and then another game.
“We’ve taken this direction. Petagna was at the training camp and he’s here with us today. “It’s hoped that everyone at the training camps will have a future with the Azzurri. After that, it’s down to what they do on the pitch.
“We have to get everyone prepared. Donnarumma and Rugani, for example, will play one or two games. The young lads must be protected, slowly, bit by bit.”