NEWS
Wednesday November 20 2019
Mancini: 'Balo has six months'

Roberto Mancini is giving Mario Balotelli six months to get back into the Italy squad for Euro 2020, but they've "renewed as much as possible."

The Italy boss was speaking at the Social Football Summit in Rome, and spoke about their 100 per cent qualifying record after predecessor Giampiero Ventura failed to reach the 2018 World Cup.

"A year ago it was a very difficult moment. The general situation was sad. It was important to renew as much as possible. We had to give courage to players that had never played in Serie A, and to give players games based on technical ability.

"I was fortunate to have collaborators who come from the youth sectors and who know the younger players."

Mario Balotelli returned to Serie A after years of playing abroad with the aim of making the squad for Euro 2020, but so far the former Milan and Inter striker has only scored twice for new club Brescia.

"He has six months, a lot can happen," Mancini said when asked about his protege. 

The CT acknowledged he has practically decided the final squad that he will name for the tournament.

"At this moment, the group is that I only have one or two doubts, depending on injuries. Unfortunately I cannot call all the 34-35 players that deserve to be there. I can only bring 23.

"I am happy that enthusiasm has returned from the fans. Calling on [Nicolo] Zaniolo, when he had hardly played in Serie A, could've been a crazy thing, likewise for [Sandro] Tonali, [Moise] Kean and [Gianluca] Scamacca.

"They're quality players, but we decided to call them up and with the help of the more experienced players we have managed to create a good group."

Italy are in Pot 1 for Euro 2020, but that doesn't protect them from a potentially tough group.

"Even if we are seeded, we could risk being in a group with France and Portugal, but I am not worried. The nice thing is that we will get to play here at the Stadio Olimpico."

Euro 2020 starts on June 12 in Rome.

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