Saturday March 17 2018
Italy squad for Argentina and England

Interim Italy Coach Gigi Di Biagio named his squad to face Argentina and England, including Gigi Buffon and Federico Chiesa, but not Mario Balotelli.

The Azzurri are still without a permanent Coach after Giampiero Ventura’s dismissal and the World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden in November.

Under-21 boss Di Biagio has been put in charge for the friendlies against Argentina in Manchester on March 23 and England at Wembley on March 27.

Despite reports Balotelli would get his first cap since the 2014 World Cup, the Nice striker has again been left out in favour of Milan’s Patrick Cutrone.

This means Valencia forward Simone Zaza is also left behind.

Juventus veteran Buffon is called up, so his final appearance in an Italy jersey won’t be apologising to fans in tears after the World Cup debacle at San Siro.

Fiorentina winger Chiesa is promoted from the Under-21 side, while Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante gets his chance, but surprisingly no call for Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli.

According to Sky Sport Italia, this is because the Rossoneri centre-back is not fully fit.

Jack Bonaventura gets his first call since November 2016, while it's the debut at senior level for Chiesa and Cutrone.

Probable Italy squad

Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), G Donnarumma (Milan), Perin (Genoa)

Defenders: Florenzi (Roma), Zappacosta (Chelsea), Spinazzola (Atalanta), De Sciglio (Juventus), Darmian (Manchester United), Bonucci (Milan), Chiellini (Juventus), Rugani (Juventus), G Ferrari (Sampdoria)

Midfielders: Pellegrini (Roma), Jorginho (Napoli), Verratti (PSG), Cristante (Atalanta), Bonaventura (Milan), Gagliardini (Inter), Parolo (Lazio)

Forwards: Chiesa (Fiorentina), Verdi (Bologna), Candreva (Inter), Belotti (Torino), Immobile (Lazio), Insigne (Napoli), Cutrone (Milan)