Friday August 17 2012
Prandelli: 'Destro-Balotelli dream pair'

Cesare Prandelli said it’s “up to” Antonio Cassano whether he stays in the Italy squad, feels Mario Balotelli and Mattia Destro are “a dream pair” and looks back at Euro 2012.

The Azzurri Coach spoke with Sky Sport Italia after a 2-1 friendly defeat to England on Wednesday evening.

Cassano was one of many stars rested for the game, though his future for both Milan and the Nazionale is up in the air.

“We were honest with Antonio. We had a journey together at the Euros and if he plays consistently at Milan then there will certainly be space for him in this Nazionale,” said Prandelli.

“Antonio is going through a difficult phase of his career. I hope he can find the right motivation to continue in the best possible way. It’s up to him.”

Destro made his senior Italy debut against England and is another product of the Inter youth academy that spawned Balotelli.

“Could Destro start against Bulgaria in the next World Cup qualifier? It depends on how much he plays in Serie A, but he does have extraordinary qualities, the enthusiasm of a youngster and knows how to make an impact in the penalty area.

“Massimo Moratti should be proud to have Destro and Balotelli coming up through the Inter ranks. The club made other choices, but he can still consider himself satisfied. It’s a dream pair.

“We need young players to make plans for the future, aware that we are allowed to perform experiments. I gave five youngsters their debuts against England and now know I have players who are ready and at my disposal.”

Many were surprised that Lorenzo Insigne did not get promoted from the Under-21 side, especially after a great summer friendly showing with Napoli.

“Insigne is an interesting player and we have been tracking him. We will face the road to Brazil 2014 with the same spirit as the Euros, so international calls will be based on performances in Serie A.”

Italy reached the Final of Euro 2012 only to be beaten 4-0 by reigning champions Spain.

“We didn’t have enough time to prepare for the Final,” concluded Prandelli. “We should’ve gone straight to Kiev rather than return to Krakow after the semi.”