Cesare Prandelli, the Italy coach, has continued his policy of experimentation by handing debuts to four players for tonight's friendly with Romania and has also recalled Juventus's loanee from Liverpool, Alberto Aquilani.
Aquilani is back in the national squad for the first time since February 2009 but fellow Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio is out injured. Lazio's Argentina-born midfielder Cristian Ledesma, who gained Italian citizenship two years ago, will join the likes of Mauro Camoranesi and Amauri in representing the Azzurri without having been born in Italy. "I feel 100 per cent Italian," he said.
The Genoa centre-back Andrea Ranocchia, who could join co-owners Internazionale in January given their injury problems, also wins his first cap when he will be reacquainted with his ex-Bari central defensive partner Leonardo Bonucci, now at Juventus.
The Palermo full-back Federico Balzaretti and Brescia's ex-West Ham United playmaker Alessandro Diamanti will also make their debuts in the friendly in Klagenfurt, Austria, with a number of experienced players such as Andrea Pirlo rested.
Italy, who top Euro 2012 Group C as they recover from a woeful World Cup, also have a new look front line, given Antonio Cassano has been omitted from the squad after being suspended by club side Sampdoria. Mario Balotelli returns after injury to spearhead the attack despite recently being sent off for Manchester City. "I don't think Mario will suffer tomorrow from the pressure of all the attention on him," Prandelli said.Reuse content