Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is happy with the competition Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is facing within the Giro Azzurro.
“Buffon, with me in charge of the side, has always been and will continue to be the No 1,” the tactician told Sky Sport Italia.
“However, at the same time, he has to keep a look out over his shoulder because Lazio’s Federico Marchetti and Salvatore Sirigu of Paris Saint-Germain are growing a lot.
“The first has re-found his consistency and security, while the second is maturing thanks to some important experiences in Paris.”
Buffon, captain for club and country, is now 35 and just two caps short of equalling Fabio Cannavaro’s 136 games for his country.
Turning to the other end of the pitch, Prandelli insisted that his national doors were still open for some heroes of the past.
“In March and April we will have a look at the condition of certain players like Francesco Totti, Antonio Di Natale and even Alex Del Piero,” added the man who replaced Marcello Lippi in 2010.
“At that stage I don’t need to plan, but build the strongest team possible.”
While Prandelli has spoken of Totti and Di Natale in the past, his decision to name Juventus legend Del Piero – now at Sydney FC – has surprised.
“We are following all players who can make a difference,” Prandelli, 56 today, added. “Alex still has a great desire and we have to keep an eye on everyone.”
The CT also admitted that Antonio Cassano remains on his radar following his summer move from Inter to Parma.
“Cassano has had an amazing adventure with us [Euro 2012], if he has a stratospheric campaign at Parma then we will consider him.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!