Mancini: 'Zaniolo comparable to Pogba; Tonali should be playing in Serie A'

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15 February at 10:15
Italian national team head coach Roberto Mancini spoke to the Corriere della Sera, giving a lengthy interview in which he covers several key topics. 

Most notably, Mancini discussed Roma's in-form starlet Nicolo Zaniolo - as well as other Italian youth prospects, Balotelli, Ciro Immobile and their goals with the team.

"Zaniolo? ​I had followed him at the European Under-19 Championship and, besides him, they had impressed: Tonali, Kean and Scamacca. I liked Zaniolo because he is physically strong, he often comes to the pitch and when he has the ball they never take it away.

"Why did Inter let him go? Sometimes with young people it's hard to understand. I've seen some qualities, one so we do not have it, it's completely different from Barella, Jorginho and Verratti. He has the characteristics to be an interior, the comparison with Pogba is there, but now they need calm and patience or even he will go into trouble.

"In Italy now there is more courage, yes, but there could be more, because there are many good young players. For Juve, Kean does not play, but he would be almost anywhere else. Tonali should play in A, even Sensi has Pellegri is always a great quality.The young are the guiding thread: in two years we can put together a strong team that can do well to the Europeans, and the World Cup in 2022 can be big.

"Balotelli? We hope to keep the engine running for a long time, because everything depends on him. He can play football. If it were ten years ago, running from all sides would be ideal. But at age 28, he is still in his full potential. I have managed him for many years and he does not create problems for me.

"The attack does not convince me? This is said of Immobile, but it is not true. Ciro must return to score in the national team, as Belotti, Insigne, Politano. Then we will make choices."

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