Sunday, 8 August 2010

Prandelli to entrust Italian youth

Italy must not repeat their mistake of treating talented youngsters like spoilt children and instead show them respect as adults, according to new coach Cesare Prandelli.

The 52-year-old was speaking at the Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) Technical Centre in Coverciano just two days ahead of his debut at the reins against Ivory Coast in London.

Prandelli, who replaced Marcello Lippi in the hot-seat, is seeking to restore some pride after the country's humiliating exit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In South Africa, the defending champions finished bottom of a comparatively easy group behind Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.

The former Fiorentina coach said that emerging talents such as Inter's Mario Balotelli should be nurtured and not simply discarded for having the reputation of being difficult.

"Me, with players like Balotelli, I want to create an empathetic atmosphere," said Prandelli, who picked just nine of the Italians on duty in South Africa in his first squad.

"I am saying to him and the other young players: 'I am here, I will listen to you, what can I do for you?' We talk of young players who have a load of talent but who often also have a desire to demonstrate that they are adults, when all we do is treat them as spoilt kids."

Prandelli, who also guided Parma and Venezia, among others, after ending his playing career at Atalanta, revealed that what he had seen so far of the youngsters had encouraged him there was a new spirit within the Azzurri squad.

"The first signs are positive, they were all smiling," said the man who won three Serie A titles with Juventus during his playing career. "On the pitch I want to see a relaxed team. We must be hungry to take risks, to get over our fears and deliver quality football."

Prandelli also explained his decision to recall 28-year-old Antonio Cassano, who won the last of his 15 caps two years ago, after the forward had an impressive 2009-10 season for Sampdoria.

"He will have a prominent role and will be a point of reference for his team-mates," said the Italy coach. "Antonio has matured. It is an extraordinary opportunity for him."

Source: AFP

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