Conte warns Balotelli time is running out

Antonio Conte has hinted that time is running out for Mario Balotelli to prove his worth to Italy's national team.

Italy coach Conte named Balotelli​ in his squad for the first time since taking the role in August for games against Albania and Croatia, though the Liverpool man withdrew due to groin and hamstring injuries.

Balotelli has faced criticism after struggling to make an impact since moving to Anfield from the Milan in the close-season, the 24-year-old striker scoring just twice in 14 appearances this term.

Conte previously stated that he would judge Balotelli purely on his performances for the national team, but he warned the former Inter man that he must start making an impact soon.

"I'm not so arrogant as to claim that I'm different from the great coaches, but the past tells us that they failed to change Balotelli," he told Rai Sport.

"It'll be up to the player, but I don't have much time and I need certain things."

Conte, who replaced Cesare Prandelli after Italy exited the World Cup at the group stage, also claims he is not happy with the progress of Italian football and believes the time has come to turn demands for improvement into results.

"I am aware that Italian football isn't heading in the right direction," he added. "We must come to terms with this and then turn words into actions."