NEWS
Monday September 5 2011
Prandelli has faith in Mario

Cesare Prandelli has warned Mario Balotelli that his future is in his own hands, but maintains faith in the striker to respond positively.

Speaking as his Italy side prepare for Tuesday's European Championship qualifier with Slovenia, Prandelli had a very clear message for the 21-year-old.

"The future is up to him. From his up-bringing to his experiences and how he addresses problems. I have patience for him, he is only 21 and it would be a shame to forget his potential."

Prandelli also said that he has warned the player that everything he does is scrutinised, and that his actions can lead to assumptions about his character that are not necessarily true.

Italy's CT then looked to provide a more positive example of his behaviour, reflecting on their visit together to Florence's Solliciano prison, alongside Gianluigi Buffon.

Prandelli revealed that it was originally set to be just Buffon and himself attending, before Balotelli found out and asked to come along out of interest.

Balotelli proved a hit with the 200 or so inmates the Azzurri trio met, signing autographs and answering their questions, whilst Prandelli praised his sincerity in attending.

Prandelli also revealed that the inmates had a message for Balotelli: "Mario do not make mistakes. We did, you can not."

The Coach later confirmed that Balotelli will not start against Slovenia on Tuesday night, as Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi again head attack, with full-backs Mattia Cassani and Federico Balzaretti coming in for full-back duty.

Projected line-up to face Slovenia: Buffon; Cassani, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Balzaretti; De Rossi, Pirlo, Motta; Montolivo; Cassano, Rossi

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