Saturday January 18 2020
Mancini: 'Chiesa not a striker'

Italy coach Roberto Mancini commented on various players in contention for a call up for Euro 2020, and insists Federico Chiesa doesn't play in his correct position. "He's not a striker."

Mancini gave a lengthy interview with former Azzurri coach Arrigo Sacchi, and touched upon multiple issues relating to the national side.

Torino’s Andrea Belotti and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile are firing on all cylinders this season for their respective clubs, and Mancini states that as long as both are still scoring come June, he’s happy.

“In March they will play a friendly each. Immobile’s 20 goals doesn’t change the hierarchy. The important thing is that they continue to score and arrive in good condition in June,” said Mancini.

“We have two centre forwards with different characteristics.”

Mancini then turned his attention to Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa, who says the 22-year-old isn’t a striker.

“Chiesa plays in a position where he doesn’t actually play. He’s not a striker, he’s struggling playing as a second striker. He needs the line, on the wing he becomes devastating.

“I told his father [Enrico Chiesa]: Tell him to relax, to find peace and joy. He gets to play football, it doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s a privilege.”

Manuel Locatelli has thrived since leaving Milan for Sassuolo, and Mancini thinks he has a big future, but fired a warning to Domenico Berardi.

“Locatelli has grown a lot in Sassuolo. He can become important for us after the European Championships.

“With the means that Berardi has, today he should be a star of Italian football.”

Mario Balotelli has a close relationship with Mancini, dating back to their time together at Inter and then at Man City, but the Azzurri boss says his former protégé isn’t doing enough.

“I follow him every Sunday, but Mario should score a goal a game and always run like crazy.”

Mancini does admit that he may have a problem in the full-back positions.

“Emerson Palmeri now isn’t playing, neither is Mattia De Sciglio. Alessandro Florenzi has had some difficult moments at Roma.

“Cristiano Biraghi is fluctuating. Giovanni Di Lorenzo is playing a little more central. Leonardo Spinazzola has quality but is utilised little.

“Manuel Lazzarri is not a full back. It’s a bit of an iffy moment, but I will have to choose from these players. From here to June I hope at least that they will play.”

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