Roberto Donadoni sees “the right mentality, passion and team spirit” from the current Italy side and advises Chinese football on how to follow suit.
The former Italy, Parma and Bologna Coach is now in China with Shenzhen FC and celebrates his 56th birthday today.
“I wouldn’t rule out a return to Italy,” he told Radio Rai. “Of course, with today being my birthday, I do miss my family, but I don’t regret this decision. I’m learning a great deal and was impressed by the city.
“Many of the players are foreign, but if we are able to work with the Chinese kids too, I think their national team could benefit. They are tending to give passports to a few foreign players and that can help them be more competitive, but in my view that is not the path they should be taking.
“There’s a lot of talent in China and we just need to lay the foundations to help their entire football movement grow.”
Donadoni was at the helm of the Italy squad from 2006-08, so how does he view Roberto Mancini’s current crop after six wins out of six in Euro 2020 qualifying?
“There is a lot of enthusiasm around the Azzurri. I like to see these lads play with passion, hunger and team spirit. That is extremely positive for all concerned.
“In Italy, we are accustomed to going from one extreme to another. I hope this enthusiasm doesn’t then lead to a big drop-off if something should go awry.
“There are many talented midfielders who are slowly gaining the right mentality. It’s the kind of attitude that gives off the sensation they’re not afraid of opponents, even away from home.”