Roberto Mancini insists Italy have two of “the best” in Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi, while Mario Balotelli will only get a recall “when he deserves it”.
Antonio Conte recently hit out at the lack of depth in his Inter squad, highlighting how Sensi and Barella were bought from Sassuolo and Cagliari, but Mancini ignored the jibe.
“I don’t know what happened, but both Barella and Sensi are important players,” he said at a Press conference.
“Naturally, they don’t have the experience of those who have played 10 years in the Champions League, but they are international players and among the best in Italy.”
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“Florenzi is not a problem, he’s rested and he will be fine for both these games and for the Euros. He knows how to play in different roles.
“[Gianluca] Mancini may play well in the middle also for us, but I see him more as a defender.
“Zaniolo is young and still needs to grow a lot. He is at the start of his career; he still needs to win everyone over.”
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“We are well-known for complaining after the matches, but VAR has improved certain situations.
“When all the rules change every year, the referees are in difficulty as well. It’s in our DNA to complain after the game.
“We like doing it. Even if everything is perfect, we will find a way. I’m not worried, I feel it’s improving.
“Though, there are some situations that need to be dealt with in a better way and a lot quicker.”
The FIGC said calling up Balotelli would send out “an extraordinary message” after he was racially abused by Verona fans.
However, the 29-year-old has scored just two goals for Brescia, who have yet to win with him in their starting XI, and was taken off during a 4-0 defeat to Torino at the weekend.
“Football needs to unite, not destroy the good things because of a few people who have done wrong. Balotelli is a player I wish well, and he’s at an age where he still can do a lot.
“I would like to pick him, but only when he might be important for us.
“He still needs to work. I would like to pick him when he deserves it tactically.”
The Azzurri have already qualified for Euro 2020, but their CT is refusing to treat Friday’s fixture against Group J rivals Bosnia-Herzegovina as a dead rubber.
“It will be a good test for us, at a small stadium full of people. It won’t be easy.
“We want to do well, also because we won’t see each other until the end of March after this.”
Finally, Mancini was asked about misfiring Everton striker Moise Kean, as well as who would lead the line versus Bosnia and also Armenia.
“He’s not playing regularly: we hope he can find more space. He still has time to be at the European Championship.
“Belotti and Immobile will play one game each.”
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