Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli has outlined a fascinating strategy for 2011. “Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano wide around two strikers.”
The tactician has said he'd like to adopt a more attacking system as confidence grows within the camp and revealed new plans for the future.
“The only path we must follow is one to bring the fans closer, excite them and bring out their passion,” Prandelli told the Corriere della Sera.
“The plan is to have Balotelli and Cassano along with a centre-forward. In fact, further along the road, we could adjust and expand that system, hopefully with Balotelli and Cassano wide around two strikers. There's nothing definitive yet...”
Both players have had problems with their attitude, most notably Cassano suspended after a huge falling-out with Sampdoria that has prompted him to join Milan.
“Antonio shot himself in the foot. He hurt himself, President Riccardo Garrone, Sampdoria and all of Italian football, but I never thought of abandoning him.
“I can't help but be happy he has joined Milan, as it is a step up in quality that will also be useful for the Nazionale.
“Mario has to understand many things, such as having a positive attitude and hard work to be respected and appreciated by his teammates. He has extraordinary qualities, that is beyond dispute.”
Balotelli scored a hat-trick for Manchester City yesterday and is among the brightest young talents in Italian football. However, Prandelli warns more potential stars are forced to leave Serie A to find playing time.
“The first game I was in the stands for as Italy Coach was the Italian Super Cup between Inter and Roma. There were four Italians on the field with an average age of 32. It made me laugh, as one time there would've been 15 potential call-ups in that game.
“At least I have been impressed by Andrea Ranocchia, who is set to join Inter this week. Clearly he has it all to prove, but Italy are struggling to produce truly great defenders, so someone like Ranocchia is precious.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.