Roberto Mancini does not regret his decision to stay on with the Italian national team but he is certainly experiencing one of the most delicate moments of his coaching career.
His Italy side is a jumble of players who are poor technically, lacking in personality and not used to dealing with the big moments under pressure.
Last year’s Euro 2020 victory was an anomaly for Roberto Mancini, who today has a team at his disposal that cannot occupy the a place in the world’s top-12 rakings after they failed to qualify for the World Cup. So, what’s gone wrong in the last year?
Italy’s poor run of form continued as they lost the Finalissima 3-0 to Argentina at Wembley
Roberto Mancini’s side have endured a difficult 12 months and his job is being questioned
ITALY NEEDS A SHOCK
The most frequently asked question at present is: is Mancini the right coach for this Italy team?
The results since Euro 2020, staying loyal to ageing players and the absence of top youngsters breaking into the team are all reasons behind the fury towards the coach.
Italy’s cycle, mentioned by Mancini in the pre-match press conference, ended with a very hard defeat to forget but the problems are linked to the quality of the players that Mancini will choose to try to bring Italy back to the top of international football.
Mancini is a great gentleman but perhaps he does not have the right characteristics to bring in a new era, like the one that occurred at the Euros.
Italy need fresh ideas and exciting stars and players but, at the moment, the leading Italian clubs have few talents.
There is a lot of question marks surrounding Mancini despite the success at Euro 2020
It is difficult to imagine what is going on in Mancini’s head but certainly his future on the Italian bench is likely to be less and less secure.
Leonardo Bonucci is one year older, Giorgio Chiellini has left Italian football to settle in MLS with Los Angeles FC and in attack, there is not a striker capable of scoring many goals.
Ciro Immobile is a top player but when he heads abroad, he always has problems that prevent him from being considered among the best European strikers.
Up and coming duo Giacomo Raspadori and Gianluca Scamacca are yet to show they have the ability to be Italy’s long-term solution up front.
Iconic centre back pairing Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini is no more for the Azzurri
WHY DID MANCINI LEAVE PELLEGRINI AND TONALI OUT?
Among the many mistakes made by Mancini in the choice of team against Argentina was wanting to reward his loyal players who won the European Championship.
Emerson Palmieri and Bonucci have deeply disappointed the coach’s confidence, who does not seem to understand the team’s problems.
Also, Roma and AC Milan fans have been particularly critical of Mancini’s choice to overlook both Lorenzo Pellegrini and Sandro Tonali.
The best Serie A midfielders were again excluded with those more senior and experienced players getting the nod instead of two of Serie A’s most in-form players.
Pellegrini and Tonali – together with Nicolo Barella, a player always deployed in the middle of the pitch in the last two years – are probably the best Italian under-30s and the exclusion of the two Serie A protagonists destroys trust in Mancini’s judgement.
Lorenzo Pellegrini and Sandro Tonali have consistently been left out of Mancini’s starting XI
MANCINI’S BERNARDESCHI OBSESSION
Mancini has developed an obsession for Federico Bernardeschi.
The forward has been released by Juventus, has never had a starting role in the Juve squad and has had three fairly disastrous years in Serie A.
Despite this, Mancini decided to include him in his side against Argentina, entrusting him with the number 10 shirt of Francesco Totti and Roberto Baggio.
Handing Baggio’s number 10 shirt to Bernardeschi, after allowing it to be used by Joao Pedro previously (a player relegated with Cagliari to Serie B) demonstrates how at this moment there are many problems and a lot of confusion in the coaching staff.
Italy coach Mancini has developed an obsession for Federico Bernardeschi (pic right)
WHO SHOULD WE BASE THE TEAM AROUND?
Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Tonali, Barella and Pellegrini are the players the new Italy needs to be built around in the next couple of years.
Gianluigi Donnarumma will be the starting goalkeeper for the next 15 years and on his side there is also the certainty of a bright future at PSG but there are many gaps to fill otherwise.
Lorenzo Insigne will gradually be fazed out by the national team having preferred a move to MLS rather than staying in Italy but even in his role there are few players ready to be called up.
Riccardo Sottil, who features for Fiorentina, is an excellent technical and tactical player but he is not a starter and will have to try to play much more like Luca Pellegrini.
Destiny Udogie, the Udinese defender and Italy Under-21 star, is likely to join a top club in the summer and can then become a key player of the Italian national team.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo, pictured up against Lionel Messi at Wembley, needs to start regularly
Riccardo Sottili is an excellent technical player but is not yet ready for a starting spot