Nazionale U21

Nicolato's reign begins: "Humble and fearless, we'll need more than the reputation of Italy alone to win"

Tomorrow in Catania (18:30 CEST - live on Rai 2) the Coach will make his debut in the Azzurrini technical area in the friendly against Moldova: "Locatelli will wear the armband"

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Nicolato's reign begins:

Paolo Nicolato’s adventure as Head Coach of the Under-21 National Team will begin tomorrow, with the Azzurrini set to start a new chapter as they face Moldova at the Stadio Angelo Massimino in Catania at 18:30 CEST. With the disappointing European Championship on home soil now behind them, the match against the Moldovans will be an important test head of the team’s opening EURO 2021 qualifying match against Luxembourg on Tuesday in Castel di Sangro.

“We’ll use this game to get to know each other better,” said Nicolato during his pre-match press conference. “This is a new and young group, I want to see their spirit and a desire to do well. Meet-ups like this are useful to get to know each other on a technical and human level. Tomorrow, I intend to play as many players as possible, irrespective of how the game is going.” The objective is to create a group that will be able to make the transition to the senior side: “In terms of principles, the intention is to align our work with the work Mancini is doing so that the lads get to know certain situations that they’ll come across when they make the step up to the senior side.”

Nicolato has developed alongside his current players, and the Under-21 job is recognition for the work that he’s done in the past few years as part of the Azzurri youth setup, work that resulted in a second-place finish at the Under-19 European Championship and a fourth-place finish at the Under-20 World Cup in June: “We’ve only completed five training sessions up to this point, with one or two of these taking place with a reduced number of players. We’ve tried to lay the foundations and make the lads understand how we go about things, especially those who weren’t part of my previous group. Clearly, it’ll take time. Overall, I’ve come across a group of intelligent guys who want to do things in the right way.”

The Venetian Coach has already announced Manuel Locatelli as his captain, saying: "He's an important, intelligent player with experience both in Serie A and at an international level." The Coach affirmed that he wants to see a team that is carefree and humble, but also aware of its capabilities, "I asked the lads to keep their peace of mind at all times, to not to be afraid of making mistakes: they might feel tense or excited, but we shouldn't be afraid because we'll use our mistakes to improve and to build something great. We must have enthusiasm and a positive attitude, combining the desire to do something with the desire to enjoy what we do. In the learning phase this enjoyment is fundamental, so we will seek to continue the work that we have already done concerning game philosophy, being on the pitch and wearing that Azzurri shirt. We should never be presumptuous, it is no longer enough to use the huge reputation that Italy has in order to win games. Football and the balance of things have changed and we must go through the same struggle as everyone else. My players should never think that they are superior to others, they have to put the work in on the pitch to win something.”

The goal is to see the same spirit shown at the base of all of the U20s’ good work at the World Cup in Poland, which was achieved without any high expectations of them, but which made millions of Italians fall in love with the team along the way: “People loved us, not just because of the results but more because of our way of doing things, our desire to give everything on the pitch, our passion and team spirit. My goal is that the boys experience the same feelings this year.”

Squad list
Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Trapani), Mattia Del Favero (Piacenza), Alessandro Plizzari (Livorno);
Defenders: Claud Adjapong (Verona), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Raoul Bellanova (Bordeaux), Enrico Del Prato (Livorno), Matteo Gabbia (Milan), Riccardo Marchizza (Spezia), Luca Ranieri (Fiorentina), Marco Sala (Virtus Entella), Alessandro Tripaldelli (Sassuolo);
Midfielders: Marco Carraro (Perugia), Davide Frattesi (Empoli), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Giulio Maggiore (Spezia), Niccolò Zanellato (Crotone), Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma);
Forwards: Moise Kean (Everton), Andrea Pinamonti (Genoa), Gianluca Scamacca (Ascoli), Riccardo Sottil (Fiorentina), Marco Tumminello (Pescara).

Staff – Head Coach: Paolo Nicolato; Head of Delegation: Massimo Paganin; Accompanying Director Vincenzo Marinelli; National Youth Teams Coordinator: Maurizio Viscidi; Assistant Coach: Mirco Gasparetto; Secretary: Manfredi Martino; Fitness Coach: Vincenzo Pincolini; Goalkeeper Coach: Gianmatteo Mareggini; Match Analyst: Francesco Bordin; Doctors: Angelo De Carli and Vincenzo Santoriello; Physiologist: Cristian Osgnach; Physiotherapists: Emiliano Bozzetti and Nicola Sanna.

The schedule for the Under-21 National Team:

Thursday 5 September

11:00 - Training at the "Angelo Massimino" Stadium in Catania (open for the first 15 minutes)
Followed by a press conference (with the Coach) in the Press Room of the "Angelo Massimino" Stadium

Friday 6 September
10:30 - Training (closed)
18:30 – ITALY vs. MOLDOVA at the "Angelo Massimino" Stadium in Catania. press conference after the game

Saturday 7 September
09:00 - Flight Catania-Rome Fiumicino and transfer to the Sport Village Hotel & Spa -Castel di Sangro AQ
13:15 - Press conference (with two players) at the Sport Village Hotel & Spa
17:00 - Training at "Teofilo Patini" (open to the press)

Sunday 8 September
10:00 - Training at "Teofilo Patini" (closed)
17:00 - Training at "Teofilo Patini" (open to the press for the first 15 minutes)

Monday 9 September
16:45 - Press conference (with the Coach) at the "Teofilo Patini" Stadium in Castel di Sangro
17:30 - Training at the stadium (open for the first 15 minutes)

Tuesday 10 September
18:30 – ITALY vs. LUXEMBOURG at the "Teofilo Patini" Stadium in Castel di Sangro. Followed by a press conference after the match and the conclusion of the national meet.

N.B. All times in CEST. The times of trainings and press conferences may be subject to change.