Tuesday November 10 2015
Montolivo: ‘Italy needs men’

Italy ‘need men and not just players’ according to Milan’s Riccardo Montolivo, who backs CT Antonio Conte’s selection.

Conte left out on-form pair Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Berardi from his squad for this weekend’s friendlies and said yesterday that ‘the individual isn’t important.’

Montolivo praised the ‘great competition’ in the Azzurri camp ahead of Friday’s friendly against Belgium in Brussels.

"There is great quality and competition,” he said at today’s Press conference.

“Each of us will give his best to convince the CT. I lost some time because of injury and I am the last to arrive, and for that I know that I have to win a place by having a great season with Milan.

“To be a winning team we want men and not just players, if I was the CT I would make the same choice as Conte.

“I’ve only been here for a short time, but I see players with important technical and human qualities.

The 30-year-old then went on to discuss his role in the team, as well as Mario Balotelli's injury and his hopes for the Rossoneri.

“The mezz’ala has different tasks from a pure midfielder, he must connect the play and run more than a playmaker," said Montolivo.

For Milan I play as a central playmaker and I know well how to interpret that role, but I think I can do my part here with Italy too because we’re trying different modules.

“Balotelli isn’t well, he has the groin problem and must only think about healing. We hoped it would go differently against Atalanta, but I think we must continue with the work we are doing to make up ground.

“We want to give an important signal against Juventus, like we did against Lazio.”