Cesare Prandelli warned Italy’s young players they “need a step up in quality” to beat veterans into the World Cup squad.
The Coach said this week he was still considering 2006 World Cup winners like Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero  for the tournament in Brazil.
“I repeat the door remains open for Totti, Del Piero or Antonio Di Natale,” Prandelli told the Corriere dello Sport.
“We are tracking their progress seriously; it’s not just a phrase. In Brazil we need 23 athletes, yes, but also the best, not necessarily the best under 25.
“There are talented young players, but they need a step up in quality if they want to finish ahead of certain veterans who are still capable of great performances.”
A spot at the World Cup does seem solid for two Under-21 internationals, namely Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli and PSG midfielder Marco Verratti.
“Insigne showed in the friendly against Argentina that he has the right mentality and character. When I talk about the step up in quality, I also mean knowing how to risk.
“As for Verratti.... let’s take it slowly. He paid for the old Italian routine where people fall in love with a new face and after 15 games look at him with different eyes. At the start everything seems great, then they become more demanding.”
In the 2-1 defeat to Argentina, Daniele De Rossi was used as a central defender in a back four.
“These are situations we need to test out. With the right training, he can become one of the best centre-backs in Europe,” insisted Prandelli.
“I was pleased to see Giuseppe Rossi start for Fiorentina against Grasshoppers. I am waiting for him. I won’t forget that Rossi and Antonio Cassano were the front two in my first two years for Italy.”