Mon 20 March 2023 | 16:09

Mancini backs Retegui all-up amid lack of attacking options for Italy

Roberto Mancini's decision to include Mateo Retegui in Italy's squad was unexpected, but he explained that he had to widen his search for players

Roberto Mancini has explained his decision to call up

Mateo Retegui

, who was born in Argentina, as he expressed his concern over Italy's lack of attacking options. Retegui, who has previously represented Argentina at youth level, has been included in the Azzurri's squad for the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Mancini admitted that he did not expect the 23-year-old, who is currently on loan at Tigre from Boca Juniors, to accept the invitation to play for the European champions.

When Retegui was selected in Mancini's team ahead of their Group C match against England at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday, some people were surprised. Retegui's grandmother was born in Italy.

Mancini said on Monday: "We've been following him for some time, he has quality and he's a young boy. We didn't think he'd say yes, we hesitated a bit and instead he immediately said yes. The hope is that it can be important, he's a bright and young boy."

The Azzurri boss has changed his stance over calling up players who were born in a different country.

"Years ago I said that players born in Italy should play for the national team, but this problem didn't exist yet and the world has changed."

he said.

"All the European national teams have players naturalised from other countries. We have had players who were taken by the national team of other nations.

"And we are doing the same thing. It is useless to talk, in Italy there are few. We are worse off than [England boss Gareth] Southgate, if there is the possibility of taking new we get players."

Mancini is concerned by the lack of attacking options available for him. 

He said:

"In Italy nobody plays on the street anymore. We used to play three-four hours on the street and then we went to train, today this doesn't happen anymore.

"It's no coincidence that players are still born in those countries, such as Uruguay, Argentina or Brazil, where they still play a lot on the street." 

Mancini added:

"I have no idea why so few forwards come out. we are really very limited in the offensive department.

"We have three teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but out of three teams, there are seven or eight Italians at the most. This is the reality."

source: SportMob

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