Cesare Prandelli hopes Italy learn from Germany and aims to test Mario Balotelli with Giuseppe Rossi as he prepares for the World Cup.
The Italy Coach spoke at a Press conference today ahead of international friendlies against Germany and Nigeria.
“There are still places for the World Cup squad. Many are motivated by being mentioned and hearing they could be in there, but it requires consistency,” said Prandelli.
“I have 35 players in my head, but not the final 23. The season so far has told me there’s no news, but I am not worried. We have seven or eight months to prepare and three or four places to play for.”
Italy host Germany at San Siro on Friday evening, then play Nigeria in London on Monday.
“Germany are to be considered an example, as they have 18 Federation football schools. Our youth sectors tend to look at the short-term, but that is where you have to start investing in football.”
Prandelli is expected to use these friendlies for some tactical experimentation.
“After proposing different systems, we do have a precise idea, but must also be prepared for different games within a game. We played at times with a lot of width, perhaps losing something in terms of possession and quality. Seeing as we don’t have much time to train, we have to test these out during the matches.
“We have settled on a system with four midfielders and two strikers, though at times during the game we could also need to spread the play.
“Now we’ll play Germany, a side that evokes the history of football, and I need to understand whether certain players have that confidence at this level. For example, Antonio Candreva showed character, strength and mental calm even with the Azzurri. I called Marco Parolo because he deserved it, as he’s been one of the most impressive midfielders this season.
“My idea was to try Balotelli and Rossi together, but Giuseppe is in bed with the flu. We’ll see. He has great character, which was only strengthened by his injuries. He can play both as a centre-forward and a support striker, while he can also help the team to play.
“As for Balotelli, I agree with Massimiliano Allegri, that great champions must help the team to win together, not try to win the game by themselves. They must be at the centre of the project.
“Mario is going through a strange time, but if you have pride and character then this can help you to grow up. He needs to find confidence and calm, to live with this pressure. Mario and the others have to rediscover the smile a young lad should have.”
However, Prandelli also confirmed there will be limitations on players using Twitter during the World Cup.
“I am not against Twitter, but at the World Cup we will have internal rules. If someone has something to say, they should do it in a Press conference with professionals, not by using Twitter. I know the players love a direct rapport with the public, but for 15, 20 or 40 days they’ll try to avoid it.”