Tuesday, 7 October 2008

[Azzurri] Lippi on new-look squad

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has explained his decision to call-up four new players and omit some of the current stars ahead of the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Marcello LippiLippi has dropped Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero and Sampdoria star Antonio Cassano for his squad to face Bulgaria and Montenegro.

"I called Del Piero and we spoke about it," Lippi explained. "I wanted to see what some new players could do - I told him that and he understood.

"I also told him to keep doing what he has always done."

Regarding Cassano, he said: "There is no particular problem with him. I have heard talk that we have personal issues - not true.

"It was a technical choice. At the moment I want to see other players."

Lippi also spoke to Wolfsburg defender Andrea Barzagli, who also doesn't feature in the 23-man squad.

"I spoke to him for a long time," Lippi said. "I want to see the player he was a while ago with the determination and rage. We discussed things very calmly."

Napoli defender Fabiano Santacroce has been handed his first Azzurri opportunity.

"Santacroce has a physical dynamism and he is quick," Lippi stated. "He can play in a few positions and he is a lad for the future.

"People are saying that his selection is a response to racism? I didn't think about that but that is a welcome message."

The other new faces are Christian Maggio, Giuseppe Rossi and Simone Pepe.

"Maggio plays wide in a role that we don't use in La Nazionale," Lippi explained. "That has cost him up until now but considering Mauro Camoranesi's problems it seemed like the logical choice.

"Pepe scored goals and makes space - I like the way he plays. Rossi is an important player and he knows how to do everything up front."

Source: C4 Football Italia

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