Friday August 28 2015
Conte on Balotelli and Giovinco

Italy Coach Antonio Conte is open to a Mario Balotelli recall, plus tracks Sebastian Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo.

Balotelli moved to Milan this week on a one-season loan after a dismal spell at Liverpool, so hasn’t featured for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup.

“The same is true for him as everyone else. The doors of the Nazionale are not closed to anybody,” declared Conte today.

“It’s up to Balotelli now to earn his place with his performances and behaviour.”

Tomorrow Conte will announce his squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Malta on September 3 and Bulgaria on September 6.

“There won’t be any particular novelties, as it’s only right to resume from those who were there last season.

“We are tracking everyone’s progress, including abroad. Giovinco is on his way back to being an important player and Pirlo will be too for as long as he still makes the difference.

“We are keeping an eye on everyone. The Nazionale must be earned via performances and behaviour.”

Giovinco is still only 28 years old and has scored 17 goals with 10 assists in 24 MLS games for Toronto FC.

Pirlo is taking a little more time to adapt to MLS life at New York City FC.

Conte was also asked what he thought about the campaign so far after Juventus lost their opening round.

“Juve replaced those who left with important and very intelligent buys. I think they’ll do very well. The first set of games would suggest it’s a more balanced League.

“What really interests me is that those available for Italy play well. There have been a lot of foreigners in Serie A for a while, but I am not interested in that. We can do well with what we have.”

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