Italy: New faces for Nations League

Roberto Mancini has named his Italy squad to face Poland and Portugal in the UEFA Nations League, including Cristiano Biraghi, Manuel Lazzari and Pietro Pellegri.

The Azzurri begin the new-look tournament, which builds up to Euro 2020, at the Stadio Dall’Ara in Bologna against Poland on Friday September 7.

They then visit Portugal in Lisbon on Monday September 10.

Players will arrive at the Coverciano training ground to begin work on Monday morning.

Giorgio Chiellini returns to the squad after a period of rest, while there are maiden calls for SPAL’s Manuel Lazzari, Cristiano Biraghi of Fiorentina, Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, Roma midfielder Nicolò Zaniolo and Monaco striker Pietro Pellegri.

Nicolò Barella also steps up from the Under-21 side to the senior squad.

The UEFA Nations League is “a new national team competition that replaces friendlies with competitive matches, allowing nations to play against equally ranked teams.

“The four group winners of the top-ranked League A qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals in June 2019. For the remaining sides, there is promotion and relegation to play for, not to mention a potential route to UEFA EURO 2020.”

Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);

Defenders: Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Caldara (Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Emerson Palmieri Dos Santos (Chelsea), Manuel Lazzari (Spal), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea);

Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Cagliari), Marco Benassi (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Frello Filho Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma);

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nizza), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pietro Pellegri (Monaco), Simone Zaza (Torino).

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