Italy Coach Forced to Replace Two Injured Roma Midfielders

Nicolò Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini will not be available for the upcoming Italy matches against Switzerland and Northern Ireland. Nicolò Barella is in doubt due to a thigh problem. Instead, there is more optimism concerning the status of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, Roberto Mancini informed.

Zaniolo is dealing with calf muscle fatigue, while Pellegrini with knee soreness. Matteo Pessina and Danilo Cataldi will substitute them in the squad, Sky Sport reports. The former just returned from a major injury, while it is the first call-up for the latter. Barella subbed off in the Derby because of an adductor issue. The two Juventus defenders are nursing similar ailments, but they are not severe enough to leave the Italy camp right away.

Mancini talked to the press today: “We have some absences, but I do not think we are in trouble in any area. The match versus Switzerland will be important and difficult, but we have to remain serene. Tommaso Pobega is here because he deserves it. He has already played for the various youth teams.”

“Italy would have good chances to win while performing like in the first game. However, I believe we could do even better. It is not my harshest week at the helm of the Azzurri. The lead-up of the Euro final was more challenging. We have nothing to lose in this case.”

“I am not worried about the poor start of Juventus. I called up their players before and will continue to do it. They have a few veterans that always provided their contribution to Italy. We are happy to welcome back Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, as we missed them in Nations League. The former is the most prolific striker of the last few years.”