Mancini set to give crop of young players a chance as Italy face USA

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini is expected to take a look at the next generation in Tuesday’s friendly against the USA in Belgium.

The Azzurri failed to qualify for last summer’s World Cup finals and did not progress in the Nations League after a frustrating goalless draw in Milan against Portugal on Saturday.

Juventus striker Moise Kean, Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, fellow teenager Nicolo Zaniolo of Roma, and Atalanta defender Gianluca Mancini could all play some part for Mancini’s side.

“We need to get to know them better, to see them in action,” Mancini told Italian television network Rai.

“I think there are many talented players out there, they just need to gain some experience, to ensure that we can have a bright future ahead of us.”

UEFA confirmed last week that the friendly in Genk had been chosen to test the Video Assistant Referee system (VAR), while Mancini will be looking to address his side’s alarming lack of goals.

Italy failed to reach Russia 2018 after being held 0-0 by Sweden in the second leg of their play-off in Milan a year ago and they have scored only seven goals in eight matches since Mancini took charge.

“Of course, there’s a long way to go and we are working, trying to renew the national team with young players and a different tactical approach,” said the former Manchester City boss.

“Scoring goals is an important detail, but we played very well (against Portugal).

“We’ll slowly sort out the attack. We’ve been a little unlucky in some situations, but the team is proving that it can compete at any level in the future and we can only get stronger from here.”

Italy have lost only one of 12 previous meetings against the USA, but that was in their most recent encounter, which ended 1-0 in 2012 in Genoa.

USA manager Dave Sarachan has urged his players to be more aggressive following his side’s recent 3-0 defeat to England.

Sarachan said his side, prior to their Wembley appearance, had consistently made life difficult for their opponents.

“I thought in the England game we lost that element a little bit,” he told a press conference. “But we’ve addressed that, being a little more of a risk-taking team and being more aggressive.

“Not in a way to foul but just making it hard on the opponent. I think that’s what we’re looking for (on Tuesday).”

Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie and Fulham’s Luca de la Torre have both withdrawn from Sarachan’s squad due to injury.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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