Mancini perfect for new-look Italy, says Baselli
Roberto Mancini's willingness to invest in youth is exactly what Italy need to usher in a new era, according to recalled Torino midfielder Daniele Baselli.
Former Inter and Manchester City boss Mancini has freshened up an ageing squad by including the likes of Rolando Mandragora and Mattia Caldara for his first camp at the helm.
Baselli, who finished the season with four Serie A goals, is among the mix of relative newcomers which appears to herald a concerted move toward developing a new generation.
Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all retired after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup, leaving a group thin on experience to pick up the pieces.
"I've seen that the atmosphere is calm here and everyone wants to work," Baselli told reporters.
"After the failure to qualify for the World Cup, Mancini has the ability and time to prepare for a new cycle and use young players.
"He's one of the best coaches around and certainly the right person to start again with. We have to make the most of this time and put his instructions into practice.
"Personally, I have been waiting for this call-up for a very long time. It's a great pleasure to be here."
— Italy (@azzurri) May 25, 2018
Baselli also welcomed the inclusion of Mario Balotelli, who could win his first cap in four years when Italy meet Saudi Arabia on May 28.
"Mario’s presence is nice and for me he's earned his call-up," 26-year-old Baselli said. "He's a really nice guy and he keeps the atmosphere light-hearted."
Mancini's men are also due to face France and Netherlands in early June as part of a busy schedule of friendlies in the absence of a trip to Russia 2018.