Nazionale U21

The first training session ahead of the game against Slovenia. Nicolato: “Happy to be back”

The Azzurrini’s medical test results due this afternoon. The Coach: “Plenty of unknowns after the time off, we’ll have to overcome the difficulties through technical and mental values”

Monday, August 31, 2020

The first training session ahead of the game against Slovenia. Nicolato: “Happy to be back”

Italy’s Under-21s met last night in Lignano Sabbiadoro, where they’ll return to the pitch for a friendly against Slovenia almost ten months after their last outing (kick-off for the game coming at 17:30 CEST on Thursday 3 September at the Stadio Guido Teghil). All of the players underwent medical tests upon their arrival at the hotel, with the results due back this afternoon. Should all the tests return as negative, the players will take to the pitch for their first training session straight away.

Paolo Nicolato spoke to La Domenica Sportiva last night: “It’s difficult to say what sort of an adventure it will be, we’ve never had such a long break. It won’t be easy, but we’re happy to be back.” The Azzurrini Coach has called up 31 players for the team’s first game back after lockdown, with the group set to be reduced to 23 for their European qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday 8 September in Kalmar (18:30 CEST kick-off). Ten players received their first U21 call-up for the meet in Lignano Sabbiadoro, with Nicolato explaining: “It makes sense to enlarge the squad, a lot of our players are in the senior side, we need to find new faces. In the first friendly we’ll see if there are guys that can give us a hand, while for the second we’ll rotate those who played with those who can provide us with a bit more certainty. We also have to consider that Sweden never went into lockdown, they’re in the middle of their league campaign and they’ve got several boys playing in their top division. We’ll have to look to overcome the difficulties through technical and mental values.”

Italy currently sit second in the standings in Group 1, on 13 points from five games (four wins and one draw, with 15 goals scored and none conceded). They’re three points off Ireland in first place but hold two games in hand, and will certainly hold qualification for the European Championship as their primary objective, the finals for which take place from 31 May to 6 June 2021 in Hungary and Slovenia. “With the fact that the Euros have been postponed by a year,” explained the Coach, “some of the more experienced players may be called up to the senior side. We have to prepare ourselves for that, it’s a unique time ahead which we still have to go through for the first time. It’s not easy to make any predictions about the boys’ development, we’re focused and we’ll look to do the best we can, aware of the difficulties at hand.”

Another job for the Under-21 side comes in providing players to Roberto Mancini National Team: “Zaniolo, Tonali, Locatelli, Bastoni, Pellegrini and Kean are all in the senior side. Naturally this poses some difficulties for us, but at the same time it’s a great source of pride.”

The squad list:

Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Trapani), Mattia Del Favero (Juventus), Alessandro Plizzari (Reggina);

Defenders: Claud Adjapong (Hellas Verona), Davide Bettella (Pescara), Nicolò Casale (Venezia), Giuseppe Cuomo (Crotone), Enrico Delprato (Livorno), Matteo Gabbia (AC Milan), Luca Ranieri (Ascoli), Marco Sala (Virtus Entella), Alessandro Tripaldelli (Sassuolo), Marco Varnier (Pisa), Alessandro Vogliacco (Pordenone);

Midfielders: Marco Carraro (Perugia), Andrea Colpani (Monza), Salvatore Esposito (Chievo Verona), Davide Frattesi (Empoli), Giulio Maggiore (Spezia), Youssef Maleh (Venezia), Filippo Melegoni (Pescara), Tommaso Pobega (Pordenone), Samuele Ricci (Empoli), Niccolò Zanellato (Crotone);

Forwards: Patrick Cutrone (Fiorentina), Sebastiano Esposito (Inter), Andrea Pinamonti (Genoa), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo), Eddie Salcedo (Hellas Verona), Gianluca Scamacca (Ascoli), Riccardo Sottil (Fiorentina).

The schedule (all times CEST):

Monday 31 August

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Tuesday 1 September

10:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Wednesday 2 September

10:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

18:30 – Training at the Stadio G. Teghil in Lignano Sabbiadoro (open to the press for the first 15 minutes)

Thursday 3 September

17:30 - Friendly match ITALY VS. SLOVENIA (Stadio G. Teghil in Lignano Sabbiadoro)

Friday 4 September

10:00 - Flight Venice-Kalmar

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Saturday 5 September

10:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Sunday 6 September

11:00 - Training (behind closed doors)

Monday 7 September

18:30 - Training at the Kalmar Arena

Tuesday 8 September

18:30 EURO qualifier SWEDEN VS. ITALY (Kalmar Arena)

Wednesday 9 September

10:00 - Flight Kalmar-Milan-Rome