Roberto Mancini sent out a clear message to Italy’s players, especially those not part of the current squad: ‘They must feel the desire to be here also in difficult situations.’
The Azzurri are preparing to face England in the Nations League and Mancini has addressed the media at a press conference today.
He also released an interview with Sky Sport Italia, where he explained his choices: “Players must feel the desire to be here also in difficult situations. It’s not that sometimes they come and other times they don’t because they have other things to think about.”
It sounded like a warning to those who haven’t made the team, especially after La Repubblica newspaper reported on Wednesday that Mattia Zaccagni and Nicolò Zaniolo hadn’t been called up for disciplinary reasons.
The Lazio winger, in particular, annoyed Mancini in June when he didn’t join the team, along with his teammate Manuel Lazzari, due to a minor injury which, according to Italy’s team doctors, would not prevent them from training at Coverciano.
Zaccagni was not called up for games against England and Hungary despite a convincing start to the season with one goal and one assist in seven Serie A appearances.
Manolo Gabbiadini has replaced Matteo Politano who has been ruled out due to an injury that will force him to the sidelines for at least two weeks. The Sampdoria striker has returned after knee surgery and hasn’t featured for the Azzurri since the infamously known Italy-Sweden World Cup play-off in 2017.
“We were looking for a left-footed striker. There aren’t many. We wanted to call him before, but he wasn’t fit,” the coach explained during his press conference.