“He’s 2000 years old” – Italy fans fear England clash will be ‘very ugly’ as Mancini names ‘ancient’ player in starting line-up

Italy fans furious with Roberto Mancini's team selection against England
Italy fans furious with Roberto Mancini's team selection against England
Jack Spedding

Italy continue their UEFA Nations League campaign as they take on in England in a repeat of last year's European Championship final.

Following their humbling defeat to Argentina in La Finalissima at Wembley Stadium, the Azzurri have claimed four points from their two Nations League clashes against Germany and Hungary.

Roberto Mancini's side are still reeling from their failure to qualify for the World Cup later this year. This means the four-time winners will miss football's biggest tournament for the second time in a row.

Ahead of the clash at Molineux, Mancini made nine changes to his side which beat Hungary last time out. Only Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lorenzo Pellegrini have kept their place in a largely youthful lineup.

However, supporters were unimpressed by the former Manchester City manager's decision to start 34-year-old centre-half Francesco Acerbi. Many believe he does not offer Italy a long-term option.

Acerbi made 36 appearances for Lazio last term as they finished 5th in Serie A. But supporters took to Twitter to voice their frustration at the decision to start the veteran defender:

@Azzurri_En A future of Azzuri? And what Acerbi doing there?
@Azzurri_En Why Acerbi? He doesn't represent the future 😣
Why are we playing acerbi? He’s 2000 years old, bro’s ancient…
Sterling and Tammy running at Fede Di Marco and Acerbi btw
I get he’s experimenting but, Pessina? Acerbi? Mancini? 😂😂😂 #ManciniOut…

Italy's Roberto Mancini expects "very different game" against England behind closed doors

Due to the crowd trouble before last year's final between the two nations, England have been ordered to play the game in Wolverhampton, with only 2,000 young supporters allowed in.

🎙️ @robymancio: "The road ahead will be a long and hard one."#ENGITA #NationsLeague #Azzurri #VivoAzzurro

When asked what he expected from the encounter, Mancini claimed (as per The Independent):

"We would have preferred to play with supporters. Football without supporters is not football and is not good for an important game like this. I agree with him (Southgate). I don’t know if it (the punishment) is appropriate. I don’t remember what happened outside the stadium at Wembley."
“But it’s very difficult for me, after one year without supporters, to play again with no supporters, it’s very difficult. It’s better because football is more beautiful with supporters. It’s going to be a very different game because we play here and behind closed curtains.”

Paul Merson has predicted all the GW 1 fixtures of the Premier League. More details right here

Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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