Wednesday February 22 2012
In the shoes of Prandelli

With a friendly against America next week, Antonio Labbate considers some of the new faces pushing for a first call up to the Giro Azzurro.

It was September 2010 and Italy boss Cesare Prandelli was asked for his early thoughts on the Italian Championship. “The side that has struck me the most is Cesena, the Coach Massimo Ficcadenti and the player Emanuele Giaccherini,” he noted. “He’s a really interesting prospect.”

At the time Giaccherini had only played a handful of games in Serie A. Actually, he had just 32 Serie B ties under his belt given that the man born in 1985 had mainly spent his career in the third tier or lower. Prandelli’s early words of encouragement were never transformed into a call-up, but one may come ahead of next week’s friendly against America.

Today’s Giaccherini is somewhat different to the one whom Cesare had initially admired over a year ago. He’s not guaranteed first team football for a start following his move to Juventus, but there are attributes of a potentially very good player in his game. It’s also his ability to be effectively used in a central midfield position, than in a more accustomed flank role, that is his biggest attraction right now.

When needed, Juve boss Antonio Conte has selected the 26-year-old as an alternative to Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio. He may not have the aggressiveness of the Chilean nor the touch of the Italian, but there is a vitality and energy to Giaccherini which could serve Prandelli well – even if only from the bench. A game changer he may not be, but he could certainly be a utility player whether in Prandelli’s 4-3-1-2 or emerging Plan B 4-3-3.

Cesare looks to have pretty much have made up his mind when it comes to his 23-man Euro 2012 squad, but there would be no harm in taking a closer look at Giaccherini. After all, there are only a handful of Azzurri virgins who are presently knocking on the always open door of the Italy CT.

Atalanta’s Ezequiel Schelotto has made no secret of his desire to earn recognition at full level, but the tactician’s preferred system suggests that the Argentine-born midfielder will have to wait until after the European Championships to enter the Giro Azzurro. Catania’s Francesco Lodi, despite his skills and form, may have to put his Azzurri dream on hold too.

It’s in attack where Prandelli could be tempted to go for something new. With Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi out, as well as Antonio Di Natale being a doubt for his expected recall after he fractured a bone in his foot, there is a case for Fabio Borini to be selected into the squad. He may be just 20, but the Azzurrino has provided Bojan Krkic with some serious competition at Roma.

Borini, like Parma’s Sebastian Giovinco, offers something a little different to the former Fiorentina tactician. With the latter’s striker pool overflowing with similar style players – Alberto Gilardino, Alessandro Matri, Marco Borriello, Giampaolo Pazzini, etc – the former Chelsea youngster could provide Italy with a more flexible and agile attacking outlet alongside a more powerful and clinical centre-forward who is likely to be Mario Balotelli.

In terms of already capped players, next week’s Marassi clash could be beneficial to test out Cagliari stopper Davide Astori in order to give him a bit more experience. It may also be wise to call-up Palermo ‘keeper Emiliano Viviano to assess his condition after he returned from knee surgery, but do you leave out Morgan De Sanctis or Salvatore Sirigu? That’s just one of a few questions Prandelli will be asking himself over the next few days. 

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Have your say...
I've been an Azzuri fan since 1994 after examining the options very carefully, this is my 23-men squad based on overall merit:

Buffon, Sirigu, Viviano

Zaccardo, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Ceglie
Santon, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Criscito

Giovinco, De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio
Aquilani, Nocerino, Montolivo

Rossi, Cassano
Pazzini, Balotelli, Borini
on the 19th April, 2012 at 7:10pm
If all are fit & in form,here is the squad I would be taking my 23 would be the to Euro 2012:

Starting 11:
Storari, Viviano)

Maggio, Chiellini, Barzagli, Balzaretti
Silvestre, Astori, Abate)

De Rossi,Pirlo,Marchisio
(Thiago Motta, , Nocerino, , Pepe, Cossu)

Balotelli, Matri, Giovinco
(Miccoli, Borrini)
on the 26th February, 2012 at 6:28am
If all are fit & in form my 23 would be the following with alternatives in brackets

Buffon, Abbiati, De Sanctis

Maggio, Abate, Chiellini, Barzagli, Ranocchia, Bonucci, Balzaretti

Thiago Motta, De Rossi, Nocerino, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pepe, Giovinco

Balotelli, Di Natale, Matri, Pazzini, Rossi (Osvaldo), Cassano (Miccoli)

My extra 7 to make up the provisional 30 man squad would be...

Santon, Bochetti, Giacherrini, Montolivo, Padoin, Borrini, Quagliarella
on the 24th February, 2012 at 5:20pm
Quagliarella should be included now that he is back to full fitness. He is experienced and will soon return to be a first-time regular in Juve. Too much class not to include him in a friendly game!!
on the 24th February, 2012 at 3:20pm
I think Borini is a better bet than Giacherrini to make the squad. However, for experimental purposes, I'd love to see Giacherrini make it to Euros, and not because of his midfield capabilities but for his wide play.
As Spain found out in the World Cup, its good to have a wide player (Jesus Navas) cause you never know when you might need them.
on the 24th February, 2012 at 9:23am
Would like to see players like Giovinco, Abate, Borini and Poli given a start in the friendlies, these players ill form the crux of the team heading into the future
on the 24th February, 2012 at 5:14am
look people, your list of players for euro is not the discussion here. the manager (prandelli) chooses players that he feels will deliver/preform the best under his TACTICAL system/play. whether old or young, from a big team or a little team, even if all from one team! NO one is exempt. a squad rich/mixed with age and experience is what any manager is trying to achieve. who ever is in the best shape & form come the final moment, then those are the players that should go to euro. period!
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 10:01pm
Viviano, De Sanctis, Buffon.

Maggio, Abate, Chiellini, Ranocchia, Astori, Silvestre, Barzagli, Criscito.

Nocerino, Montolivo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Pirlo, Giaccherini.

Borini, Giovinco, Balotelli, Matri, Schelotto, Pazzini.

Mixture of old and new. This squad has real potential !
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 6:39pm
Prandelli has a wide variety of talented players to choose from but he can only bring the best 28 to Poland and Ukraine

on the 23rd February, 2012 at 5:01pm
Maggio Barzagli Chiellini Balzaretti
Marchisio Pirlo De Rossi
Matri Pazzini


Cassani Barzagli Silvestre Chiellini
Marchisio Pirlo De Rossi
Giovinco Pazzini
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 4:56pm
As much as i like Di Natale, i'm glad he picked up an injury,it just doesn't happen for him at international level, we have proven this more than once. Why we are even considering Totti? i don't want to see any strikers over 30 in the squad, you need some sort of pace to hurt people at this level. seniors should be limited to Pirlo and Buffon and that is it. assuming Cass and Rossi wont be fit i would go
Maggio Barzagli Chiellini Criscito
Marchisio Pirlo De Rossi
Balo Pazzini
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 4:16pm
Rossi and Cassano.... Italy should forget them lets be honest they are not going to be fit anyway even if they recover they will be not sharpe enough.
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 11:21am
My 23 man Euro 2012 Squad :)

GK - Buffon, Marchetti, De Sanctis

DF - Chiellini, Rannochia, Barzagli, Bonnuci, Maggio, Crisito, Abate

MF - Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivio, Nocerino, Pepe, Giaccherini

FW - Balotelli, Pazzini, Matri, Giovinco, Quagliarella, Borini

Totti, Di Natale, Gila, et al.... they old now and must make way for younger players
on the 23rd February, 2012 at 8:26am
Miccoli should get another look in. He has been a key player for Palermo again this season and has the creativity and sharpness infront of goal that the Azzurri could use during this time. I also agree that Matri should be given a proper go at national level, but having said that Quagliarella looks to have found a good patch of form having broken through to Conte's starting XI in the last couple weeks.
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 9:27pm
No more shouts for Totti's inclusion please, he's had his day, time to move forward. Giovinco needs the chance and games to shine on the biggest stage now and Totti's inclusion would set him back.

Giaccherini and Scheletto are intersting players who offer width and versitility as does Padoin, Marrone & Borini who have also impressed me of late in their respective roles. These players are worth experimenting with even if it's just to keep the usual suspects on their toes going into the Summer.
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 8:43pm
happy face.

because prandelli has many injured strikers, he could play with borini and balotelli up front with totti behind the two strikers. with osvaldo and matri to compete for those two spots. and giovinco to press totti. without cassano and g.rossi, and now di natale injured as well, prandelli really has to look at every possible option he has available. i think prandelli is running out of options. italys gks, defense and midfield are solid. up front is the real question. who goes?
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 6:13pm
Azzurri hv to accomodate nocerino.........wid ma beloved pirlo........nd giovinco must b played in d hole behind front men
forza ItALiA
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 2:22pm
Matri and Borini upfront, Morgan De Sanctis in goal.

Dont rate Alberto Gilardino, Marco Borriello too highly so should be left out. Dont get me wrong, experience counts for a lot however in the modern game, speed and skill appears to be more neccessary

Sebastian Giovinco has to start more games for Italy!
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 1:05pm
Silvestre needs to get snatched up be Italy before Argentina claim him. And I'm sick of Matri not getting a proper chance on the National level. He's been great for Juve
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 12:44pm
Matias Silvestre is a must next to Barzagli or Chellini instead of (Bonnuci or Rannochia) might throw a couple of names in the ring people may not agree but who cares... Galloppa and Zaccardo from Parma? Mauri is back for Lazio now he always did a good job but injured I guess? Gamberini? I also think Miccoli should get a look after all he scores goals and is younger than Di Natalie who was going to be called untill injured
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 12:40pm
Andrea Poli is already mature to be in starting 11
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 12:18pm
Schelotto should be called up, as should Borini and Poli.

Astori should be given a start.
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 12:16pm
Borini definitively ,not given a lot of chances but has already scored 7 goals in serie A ,what more ... he is fast ,agile and he has a nose for goals and the burning sensation of wanting more out of him self no matter what ... he is doing great in L.E squad that's very demanding ... all in all he is the future of italian fotball along with a couple of other youngsters like Giovinco and Rosi ...
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 12:05pm
For goalkeeper... leave out Sirigu. He is not as good as he is made out to be.

Other than that... Borini, Astori why not. Also Barzagli for starting spot...

AND, if he has been willing to give a Serie B player like Ogbonna a go, then Immobile has been absolutely amazing and is possibly even better than the other young strikers of Italy. He is the only Italian striker who really is good all around, similar to Milito.
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 10:36am
Matias Silvestre. Best option right now. No doubt.Giaccherini is just too mediocre for me. Same with Astori.
on the 22nd February, 2012 at 10:26am

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