Italy leads the Group D with two points more than Norway and four more than Croatia. A victory on the Saturday game against Azerbaijan would secure Conte’s men a presence at EURO 2016 finals, next summer in France.
The 46 year old has included in the Azzurri team also Sassuolo starlet Domenico Berardi, who has been forced to turn Conte call-up down as well as postponing his debut with a senior Italy National team shirt, due to a muscle injury.
“Nothing serious has emerged from his exams – Former Juventus manager told journalists. By the way the player was still feeling pain and he preferred to come back home to recover completely.”
The three-times Serie A title winner opted not to call-up another player to substitute the Sassuolo winger: “I can rely on [Alessandro] Florenzi who can play different roles on the pitch.”
“He is a totally committed player. He helps the team a lot and he always works hard, to me those are crucial skills for a football player.”
Skills that seems to have been lost by Mario Balotelli. If someone would have thought that only a recent injury have prevented former Manchester City from an Azzurri return, then Conte’s words might come down with some disappointment.
“According to what Sinisa [Mihajlovic] is telling me, Balotelli is getting better. Mario is working good and is willing to come back here. Anyway two good matches are not enough to earn a National team call-up. Even if he wasn’t injured, I wouldn’t have called him. He needs to be more consistent.”
On the other side, the coach might have find the consistency he is looking for in the delivers of Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne: “He is not an offensive midfielder to me, but an attacking winger, just the same role that he is playing at Napoli. I hope he will show here the same qualities that he has displayed lately at Napoli”.