What's the report?
The Italy national team have announced their 31-man squad to face both Poland and Portugal in the upcoming Nations League, as per the official website, Football Italia.
Roberto Mancini, appointed manager back in May, has included a number of new faces to his senior squad and it's a very youthful-looking squad in comparison to the usual experienced national camp.
The names are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Turin).
Defenders: Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Manuel Lazzari (Spal), Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele Rugani and Giorgio Chiellini (all three Juventus), Alessio Romagnoli and Mattia Caldara (both Milan), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Davide Zappacosta and Emerson Palmieri (both Chelsea).
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Cagliari), Marco Benassi (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolò Zaniolo (all three Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Jorginho (Chelsea).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nice), Simone Zaza and Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pietro Pellegri (Monaco).
In case you didn't know..
Italy missed out on a World Cup spot - for the first time in over 50 years - when they were beaten by Sweden and knocked out in the qualifiers last year. The resilient Azzurri were missed throughout the tournament in Russia, which saw many major heavyweights knocked out early from the competition - undoubtedly one for the dark horses to thrive in.
Italy have a chance to redeem themselves when they kickstart their Nations League campaign against Poland later this month.
The heart of the matter
Mancini is unafraid to experiment with the national side given this latest squad selection, which highlights the future of the Azzurri whilst also featuring some more experienced figures too.
Alessio Cragno has been brilliant for Cagliari and has been touted as one of the Serie A's most under-rated goalkeepers. Pietro Pellegri, Monaco, is a talented teenager who was recently given the chance to shine for Italy's under-21 side and now he has been named in the senior squad.
A surprise absentee from the squad is Milan forward Patrick Cutrone, who is another promising striker with time on his side. PSG midfielder Marco Verratti (thigh) meanwhile, is still recovering from his long-term injury and not expected back to first-team training for a few weeks.
Most Italian football supporters are pleased with this recent selection. If they are to perform well in their upcoming fixtures, the open wounds of failing to qualify for the World Cup must be addressed - what better way to do that than with new, fresh blood being integrated into the side?
Both Zappacosta and Emerson, for instance, can play important roles in helping Italy - though their lack of regular minutes at Premier League side Chelsea leaves a lot to be desired.
Following last year's disappointment, expectations are realistic but nonetheless high that Italy will recover from embarrassment in the best possible way.Published 02 Sep 2018, 08:56 IST