Monday April 18 2016
Conte ponders post-Marchisio options

Azzurri Coach Antonio Conte needs to choose a replacement for injured Claudio Marchisio amid six available options.

The Juventus midfielder tore his anterior cruciate ligament in yesterday's 4-0 thumping of Palermo and won't be back until October, ruling him out of this summer's Euro 2016.

The Principino was among the top candidates to cover Italy's midfield and his sudden withdrawal opens the race to a variety of midfielders.

Conte will have to announce his preliminary squad for the tournament on May 18, calling up 27 players which will then be whittled down to 23, and there is already substantial speculation as to who will play the Marchisio role.

Marco Verratti is already assumed to be a starter, provided he can recover from his own physical trouble in time, so the question is who will partner him in the central midfield.

Euro 2012 veterans Milan's Riccardo Montolivo and Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Motta are both in with a shout, while Lazio's Marco Parolo was tested in the last friendlies against Germany and Spain and is likely to be at least among the 27 preliminary players.

Given the emergency, Conte may turn to some even older veterans, calling back Roma's Daniele De Rossi and New York City FC's Andrea Pirlo. Neither are having spectacular seasons, but they still have qualities that could make them useful.

The final two candidates are Milan's Andrea Bertolacci and Napoli's oriundo Italian Jorginho. Compared to the other options they are both substantially less experienced, but they are also the only players on this list not to have reached the age of 30 yet.

Marchisio is now the second loss for Conte ahead of Euro 2016, with goalkeeper Mattia Perin also having been ruled out due to injury.

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