Sunday March 24 2019
Mancini: 'Kean-Balotelli possible'

Roberto Mancini said Moise Kean and Mario Balotelli “could certainly play together” or use the Juventus teenager as a centre-forward.

The 19-year-old was on target in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Finland, his first senior Italy start, playing as part of a trident attack with Ciro Immobile and Federico Bernardeschi.

Although Immobile did provide the assist for Kean, the Lazio striker has fired blanks in his last 10 Azzurri caps.

“I have no particular criticism for Immobile. When a forward seeks a goal with a sense of anxiety, it just makes things more difficult. He needs to stay calm and focus on the teamwork, as he practically picked up the ball in defence and took it to Kean for the goal,” said Mancini in a Press conference.

The second qualifier with Liechtenstein is coming up on Tuesday, so Immobile could be rested and Kean moved to a central position.

“Kean’s primary role is as a centre-forward, but he can also play on the right or the left. He has enormous quality and is devastating on a physical level, but he needs to grow. Perhaps his lack of stress is what gives him more strength right now.

“There will be some changes against Liechtenstein, mainly to bring in some freshness, as it’s the day after tomorrow. We’ll see what condition various players are in.”

Considering Kean has always said he admires Balotelli, Mancini was asked if the pair could play together for Italy?

“It’s entirely possible. Kean is still young, he can play in a variety of roles with no problems. We looked to Kean because we’ve seen him in training and when Lorenzo Insigne pulled out with injury, we needed someone with different characteristics.”

Fabio Quagliarella is another option, as the 36-year-old Capocannoniere came off the bench against Finland and immediately wreaked havoc, forcing a one-handed save and then clipping the crossbar.

“He has been doing well for quite a while now and if he reached his age in this shape, it means he’s taken care of himself. Let’s just say Quagliarella came on during a moment of the game where Finland were a little bit looser, whereas it was tougher to pick them apart in the first half.

“We’ve conceded one goal in the last five games and scored two this time around. We do create the chances, it’ll be simpler to hone the movements once we get to spend more time together.”

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