New Italy coach Antonio Conte said he can’t rely on “hearsay” when judging the talents of under-fire striker Mario Balotelli.
“I prefer to evaluate players because it’s right to test them and see whether they share any technical and tactical similarities with my idea of the game and their attitude.
“He plays as a starter for Liverpool, many other players aren’t even starters. Perhaps it’s for the best that he doesn’t come during good form. He’ll be available for the national team and I’ll be looking at him closely.
“The same goes for Alessio Cerci. They both have assets but are finding it hard abroad, and it’s my duty as a coach to assess what they can give to the national team.
“Excluding players from the outset seems nonsensical to me. Here, all the players are equal, Mario is one of five attackers. If he is good, he will play, otherwise he is on the bench or in the stands,” concluded the former Juventus boss.
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