Sunday September 6 2020
Nicolato: 'Sweden in much better shape'

Italy U-21 coach Paolo Nicolato warns there is a significant difference in physical fitness with Sweden. ‘They are midway through the season, we just got out from under beach umbrellas.’

The European Championship qualifier will be on Swedish soil on Tuesday evening.

“There is a very notable physical fitness gap with Sweden,” Nicolato told RAI Sport.

“The Swedes are traditionally a very physical side anyway, but we are facing them when they are midway through the season and we just got out from under the beach umbrellas. That is no easy task.

“Even within our own squad, there are some lads who started earlier and some who haven’t had any pre-season training at all. It’s going to be a struggle and I hope we approach it in the right way.”

Playing internationals in pre-season has other difficulties for the Under-21 starlets too.

“Many of these lads don’t know where they’ll be playing this season and that doesn’t help, having the transfer window open. All I can hope is that wherever they go, it’s to get regular playing time. Italian football has to give more opportunities to young players.”

Italy U21 squad:

GK: Marco Carnesecchi (Atalanta), Mattia Del Favero (Juventus), Alessandro Plizzari (Reggina)

D: Claud Adjapong (Sassuolo), Davide Bettella (Atalanta), Nicolò Casale (Hellas Verona), Enrico Delprato (Atalanta), Matteo Gabbia (Milan), Luca Pellegrini (Juventus), Marco Sala (Sassuolo), Marco Varnier (Pisa)

M: Marco Carraro (Atalanta), Andrea Colpani (Monza), Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo), Giulio Maggiore (Spezia), Youssef Maleh (Venezia), Filippo Melegoni (Atalanta), Niccolò Zanellato (Crotone)

F: Patrick Cutrone (Fiorentina), Sebastiano Esposito (Inter), Andrea Pinamonti (Genoa), Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo), Riccardo Sottil (Fiorentina)

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