Tuesday October 1 2019
‘Pinamonti next for Italy, Zaniolo...’

Roberto Mancini confirms Genoa striker Andrea Pinamonti is Italy’s future No 9 and that Nicolo Zaniolo’s best position is in “central midfield”.

Pinamonti captained Italy to the semi-finals of the U-20 World Cup over the summer, scoring four goals at the tournament, and subsequently joined Genoa on loan with €18m obligation to buy from Inter.

“Our next striker will be Pinamonti, he’s the future of the national team,” Mancini told Radio Deejay.

“He needs to grow and is improving. For now, we have to look at the present and try to win so one of the four [Quagliarella, Immobile, Balotelli and Belotti] will start, but I expect that before Euro 2020, someone will suddenly emerge.”

The Azzurri CT left Zaniolo out of his last squad but continues to rate the Roma starlet highly.

“We were in September, at the start of the season. I called him up because he seemed good to me and I wanted to get to know him better,” he explained, referring to the 20-year-old’s first call-up last season.

“Then, over the course of six months, he grew so much. He, like Chiesa, is young and still hasn’t matured 100 percent in so many ways.

“They need to play lots of games and have a long way to go. For me, Zaniolo - with his technique and physicality - is better in central midfield.

“What’s certain is that he isn’t a striker.”

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