Before I dig into my first blog post, I want to thank Joseph for giving me the chance to write a little bit on his site.
My love for Calcio really started back in 2006 with Italy’s World Cup triumph in Germany. So, what better way to start contributing to the blog than by writing about the Azzurri?
Following the debacle that was Gian Piero Ventura’s tenure, Roberto Mancini has moved Italy forward, rebuilding confidence within the national team and getting this side to play some really attractive football.
After finishing unbeaten in Euro qualifying and top of their group in the Nations League — which qualifies them for the Nations League Finals next fall — Roberto Mancini’s side will head into the European Championships next summer with a ton of optimism.
I tried my best at predicting Mancini’s 23-man squad for those Euros. With a lot of talent within the player pool, Mancini has some tough decisions to make between now and the first match against Turkey on June 11.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma, GK, Milan
It’s hard to believe Gigio is still only 21 years old, with 184 league appearances for Milan and 22 caps for Italy. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world and a lock to be Mancini’s No. 1 in goal for the Euros.
- Salvatore Sirigu, GK, Torino
Despite Torino’s dreadful form over the past 18 months, Sirigu has been a bright spot in the goal. He adds a wealth of experience to the position group and is firmly the No. 2 behind Donnarumma.
- Alessio Cragno, GK, Cagliari
I’ve tipped Cragno to beat out Alex Meret and Pierluigi Gollini for the third-choice keeper. Meret isn’t first-choice at Napoli and Gollini has seen his Atalanta season slowed by injury. Cragno has starred for Cagliari for several years now and has recently been linked with both Inter and Roma.
- Leonardo Bonucci, CB, Juventus
Bonucci’s inclusion in the squad is all but certain. Who plays alongside him is the bigger question. Giorgio Chiellini misses out because of his age and inability to stay fit since his knee injury last August. So, Bonucci will be the elder statesman of the backline and will be tasked with marshalling the defence.
- Francesco Acerbi, CB, Lazio
Chiellini’s absence is Acerbi’s gain, as the Lazio man should be the favourite to partner Bonucci in at centre back.
- Alessandro Bastoni, CB, Inter
Bastoni’s confidence on the ball makes him a perfect fit for Mancini’s possession style of play. The 21-year-old has excelled for Antonio Conte’s Inter and put in a great display in the win over Poland this past Sunday in the Nations League.
- Alessio Romagnoli, CB, Milan
He’s only made 12 appearances for Italy, but the Milan captain has been in good form for his club in the midst of their terrific start to the Serie A season. He’s a useful squad member to have. Other names that will be in consideration here are Chiellini, Gianluca Mancini, Mattia Caldara and Angelo Ogbonna.
- Emerson, LB, Chelsea
Even with limited game time at Chelsea, Mancini has been a fan of Emerson ever since he took over the national team. He should look for a move elsewhere at the club level in January to get some more minutes.
- Leonardo Spinazzola, LB, Roma
Spinazzola’s versatility — he can play at left-back, right-back or as a left midfielder in a back three — makes him a valuable pick for inclusion.
- Alessandro Florenzi, RB, Paris Saint-Germain
After an up and downtime at Roma and Valencia recently, Florenzi has performed well since his loan move to PSG, who seem to play to his strengths as an attack-minded full-back.
- Giovanni Di Lorenzo, RB, Napoli
I’ve been a big fan of Di Lorenzo’s going back to his days at Empoli. He will have to hold off competition from the likes of Danilo D’Ambrosio, Manuel Lazzari and a resurgent Davide Calabria.
- Marco Verratti, CM, Paris Saint-Germain
When he’s healthy, he’s Italy’s best midfielder. Let’s just hope he stays fit for the Euros.
- Jorginho, CM, Chelsea
Jorginho is an integral player for both club and country. He’s the engine that keeps Italy humming along, even if it doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
- Nicolo Barella, CM, Inter
A tireless worker, Barella is the perfect type of player to set up alongside Verratti and Jorginho in Mancini’s three-man midfield.
- Manuel Locatelli, CM, Sassuolo
It won’t be long until one of Italy’s bigger clubs come calling for Locatelli. His deep-lying playmaker abilities make him the perfect backup to Jorginho and he proved in recent matches he can also play alongside the Chelsea man in the three-man midfield.
- Lorenzo Pellegrini, CM, Roma
Pellegrini offers something a bit different from other players in the midfield as the quintessential box-to-box player with a decent eye for goal.
- Sandro Tonali, CM, Milan
This was a tough one to call. Tonali hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations at Milan yet, but it’s still very early days in his career at the San Siro. Gaetano Castrlovilli, Giacomo Bonaventura, Stefano Sensi and Bryan Cristante are all in the mix in midfield as well.
- Lorenzo Insigne, LW, Napoli
Insigne has performed better for the national side than some people give him credit for. I think he will shine in his first real action at a major tournament.
- Stephan El Shaaraway, LW, Shanghai Shenhua
Il Faraone is expected to make a move back to Roma during the winter transfer window and that will help him as he tries to play his way onto the 23-man roster.
- Federico Chiesa, RW, Juventus
It remains to be seen if Chiesa’s long-awaited move to Juventus from Fiorentina was the right one for the 23-year-old. His finishing and decision making in the final third still needs improving.
- Federico Bernadeschi, RW, Juventus
There might not be a more polarizing figure on this squad than Bernardeschi. It’s no secret he’s struggled mightily at Juve recently. He’s rated by Mancini and seems to perform a bit better with Italy than he does for his club. Had he not suffered a torn ACL for the second time in eight months, Nicolo Zaniolo would have taken this spot. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Zaniolo will be ready in time for the Euro’s next summer. Other options on the wing include Domenico Berardi, Vincenzo Grifo and Riccardo Orsolini.
- Ciro Immobile, ST, Lazio
Immobile has failed to meet expectations for the Azzurri, but he’s been sensational for Lazio, taking home Capocannoniere honours this past season with 36 goals in Serie A. Mancini — and Italy fans everywhere — will hope that Immobile can finally replicate that form for the national team. Italy needs a reliable goalscorer at forward if they are to win the Euros.
- Andrea Belotti, ST, Torino
Similar to Immobile, Belotti hasn’t been able to replicate his club output for the Azzurri. One thing you can’t ever question, though, is the Torino skipper’s work rate. Francesco Caputo is also very much in contention here.
- Moise Kean, ST, Paris Saint-Germain
Kean’s move to Everton from Juventus didn’t quite pan out, but he seems to have found his form with PSG, tallying five goals so far this season.
That was my crack at predicting Italy’s Euro squad.
I don’t expect to be 23 out of 23 on my predictions, as things will certainly change between now and next June.
Let me know of any disagreements you have with my choices or who you think will be a part of the squad in the comments!
Thanks for reading and Forza Azzurri!
If you’d like to follow/connect with Vincent, you can do it via his LinkedIn profile and you can also follow him on Twitter @VinceLungaro. Additionally, if you or anyone you know who is a huge Calcio fan would be interested in being featured in an article or wants to write an article for this blog, you can reach out via email at josephporco6@gmail, com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you can reach out to me via my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter account @calciofanblogs1, my Instagram account @calciofanblogs, or my Facebook Page Calcio Fan Blogs.