Pundit Gabriele Marcotti insists “the future is certainly brighter than the last couple of years” for Italy, especially with “a midfield that can actually play.”
The Italo-American writer sat down with the Milan Weekly Podcast and his other comments on the Rossoneri are here.
He was asked about the general state of Italian football and the Nazionale after a last-gasp win over Poland to avoid Nations League relegation.
“There really is a legitimate generation of young talent coming through. Not all of them are going to be superstars but I think with the national team you don't necessarily need 20 superstars. You need four or five superstars or fuoriclasse and you need functional players around them and a good Coach.
“That generally has been the formula for success for any national team. We won a World Cup with Simone Perrotta, Cristian Zaccardo and Vincenzo Iaquinta.
“I feel pretty good about the future, I think Roberto Mancini is a really competent Coach tactically. What I don't like about Mancini is he has a temper, he gets hissy fits - he gets to wound up. We saw it at Inter and Manchester City. I don't think you can do that when you're the national team manager.
“Now he's older and a bit more mature. I didn't like how he treated the first round of UEFA Nations League games like a friendly, he made nine changes from one game to the next.”
Italy now have four points and go head-to-head with Portugal at San Siro in November.
“I don't think we'll win our Nations League group. I hope to see positive forward progress. I loved that first hour in the friendly against Ukraine with that midfield of Nicolò Barella, Jorginho and Marco Verratti. For the first time as far back as I can remember, our entire midfield is filled with people who can actually play and hit a pass and do something special and have high quality on the ball.
“The future is certainly brighter than the last couple of years have been.”