Italy coach wants more young Italians playing in top-tier domestic clubs

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Florence, Sep 4 (IANS) Italy chief coach Roberto Mancini has urged the country’s top-division football clubs to develop more young home-grown players to ensure a strong future for the national team.

During a press conference on Monday, Mancini lamented that Serie A clubs — in contrast with other countries’ leagues — do not give local talent a bigger role, reports Efe.

“There have never been fewer Italians playing the game,” Mancini said, adding that Italy’s national youth teams have many good players who deserve playing time.

Mancini argued that clubs in other countries have the “courage” to give young players more minutes, meaning they adapt quicker to first-team demands.

Setting an example, the 31-man roster Mancini revealed on Saturday for Italy’s upcoming international matches included seven under-23 players, and has an average age of 24 years.

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The youngest among them are Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri, 17, Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, 19, Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, 19, and Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa, 20.

The Italian national team has been rebuilding after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the first time Italy missed a World Cup in over 50 years.

Italy’s young squad is set to take on Poland on September 7 in its UEFA Nations League opener, followed by Portugal on September 10.

–IANS

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