September’s international break looks to be going from bad to worse for Italy. A frustrating 1-1 away draw against North Macedonia is the least of Luciano Spalletti’s piling stock of problems. After Federico Chiesa, two more first-team stars have landed a place in the infirmary.
Roma defender Gianluca Mancini limped off the pitch midway through the second half with an undisclosed injury concern. Little did Italy know Napoli winger Matteo Politano would be forced to pull out of the squad shortly after the game with a fitness problem of his own.
Desperate times require desperate measures. Faced with the vacancy in the front third, new Italy boss Spalletti has reached out to backup options to alleviate the damage caused by Politano’s absence. The left-footed star didn’t impress in Skopje. Yet, he remains a significant cog.
Bologna forward Riccardo Orsolini comes out of the shadows to take Politano’s place, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Like the ex-Inter man, the 26-year-old likes to cut inside from the right wing with his potent left foot, which makes him a natural replacement for Politano.
Orsolini will join the national team at Milanello. He will have little time to prepare as Italy take on Ukraine in a pivotal Euro 2024 qualifier on Tuesday, September 12. With three points separating the sides, Gli Azzurri must pick up three points to avoid entering the qualifying Group C finale with a deficit.
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