Sunday March 24 2019
Di Biagio: 'Italy project paying off'

Italy Under-21 Coach Gigi Di Biagio insists the influx of young talent like Moise Kean and Nicolò Barella “came from the project we started eight years ago.”

The senior Azzurri beat Finland 2-0 in their opening Euro 2020 qualifying match on Saturday evening thanks to goals from 22-year-old Barella and 19-year-old Kean.

“Those goals make us very proud,” said Azzurrini Coach Di Biagio.

“Many of the players who are hitting the headlines now came from the project we started eight years ago, when we were asked for a complete reformation of the Nazionale from the foundations.

“There are many players who will in future be regulars in this Nazionale, such as Gianluca Mancini, Nicolò Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

“Roberto Mancini helps and supports us, he is aware of all the hard work we’ve done over the years.”

There could be some crossover between the sides, because Italy want to put out a strong squad in this summer’s European Under-21 Championship, which is hosted by Italy and San Marino.

“We’ll have to figure out quite a few things and see who is available,” continued Di Biagio.

“There will be a great deal of pressure and it’s a top level tournament, as we are in the same group as Spain, for example.

“We must try to win, but I want to point out that the events against Finland only strengthen us. Mancini wants to get to know some of the other Under-21 internationals and I need to spend time with them before the Euros, so it’s possible we’ll all work together.

“We are talking about it.”

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