Tuesday December 4 2018
Mancini: ‘Italy don’t have superstars’

Roberto Mancini is focusing on youngsters as Italy don’t have the "superstars” of the past, but leaves the door open for veterans like Fabio Quagliarella.

The Azzurri CT has called on the likes of Nicolo Barella and Federico Chiesa since being appointed in June, as he looks to rebuild the national team after the World Cup failure.

“The hardest thing has been the elimination from the World Cup and the resulting disappointment there was,” Mancini confirmed in a Press conference today.

“Morale had to be raised and that wasn’t easy, but I had help from everyone and we’ve solved it quite well.

“Then the performances and the recent improvements have helped us. For some years we haven’t had the superstars that Italy had for so many years, so we need to improve the younger ones by letting them gain experience.

“We need an Italy formed of young people and the features that go along with that.

“We’ve taken the path of youngsters to try and build a different national team. But you need to wait for young players, so we need experienced ones too: we have a few.

“In the case of Quagliarella, I’ll give you an example: if we get to the European Championships and Quagliarella is Serie A top-scorer, he can be useful for us.

“In this phase the important thing is for the team to play a lot and create a lot.

“At the base of our work is fun, because with fun you improve much more. I’ve found the lads available with a great desire to come to the national team, and we’re all in the same boat.

“If you can work with synthesis and harmony, that’s a good starting point.”

Italy is hosting the Under-21 European Championships next summer, isn’t Mancini depriving the Azzurrini of players like Chiesa and Gigio Donnarumma?

“[Luigi] Di Biagio will take into consideration any player who is eligible for the Euros, even those in the senior national team.

“Our Under-21 team is already strong and will be playing in Italy. Di Biagio knows he can call anyone with no problem.”

Antonio Conte often complained about clubs being unwilling to release their players for his training camps, how is Mancio’s relationship with the clubs?

“We’ve been good so far, because when we’ve been able to help the clubs we have, like in the last game where we sent back five or six players ahead of time, the ones who had played the most.

“I hope in future that will be reciprocated and an extra hand will be given to the national team. We need collaboration.”

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