First day of training in Coverciano; Ventura: “I hope it’s the beginning of something productive”

Ventura has largely continued with the Euro 2016 squad, including 15 of the party that went to France. “You don’t have time in three days,” said the coach, “to change the system. I had said that I’d keep nearly all of the group that did well at the Euros and brought enthusiasm back to the supporters. It’s clear that there were certain situations where this wasn’t possible because some players hadn’t played very much.”
Ventura succeeds Antonio Conte in the Italy dugout and he also thinks of himself as more of a club coach than an international manager. “I often speak with Antonio and I was even talking to him three minutes ago,” said Ventura, “he wished me good luck. I also think of myself as a coach; it’s been two and a half months that I haven’t been working on the pitch and I’ve missed it. I’ve found all the lads to be really committed and I hope it’s the beginning of something pleasant and productive. At the Euros, the national team showed organisation, commitment on behalf of the players, and closeness as a group. If we can add some detail to these principles, nothing will stop us from becoming one of most respected sides in world football again.”
The squad takes into consideration the boss’ preferred formation, at least at the start of his tenure, which is a 3-5-2 with little space for attacking wingers: “El Shaarawy is unlikely to be used, simply because there’s not space for him in his position. The same goes for Berardi. As long as we use this formation, attacking wingers, no matter how good they are, will struggle to get in the starting eleven.” Promoting youth players remains one of Ventura’s principle objectives. In his first squad, in addition to Donnarumma, Romagnoli and Pavoletti, there’s ‘the Rooster’ Belotti who is currently the top scorer in Serie A with four goals in the first two games: “He’s here because I know him well and because he’s started the season excellently. If he’d scored the two penalties he missed then he’d already be on six goals.”
Having said that some of the youngsters may end up joining Di Biagio’s U-21s, Ventura also indicated that he is waiting to welcome Leonardo Bonucci with open arms. The defender is currently on leave for personal reasons: “He has two days of compassionate leave. I hope, as we all do, that we’ll soon have him here with us”. Ventura also made time for the victims of the earthquake in central Italy: “The national football team represents the sporting part of the country and it is always close to the people when such tragic things happen. I believe that the FIGC will make a large donation to help reconstruct the sports facilities that were destroyed. We in the team are also hoping to do something useful and beautiful but that’s a surprise.” Squad list Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Federico Marchetti (Lazio);
Defenders: Luca Antonelli (AC Milan), Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Angelo Obinze Ogbonna (West Ham), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus);
Midfielders: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain);
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder Citadin Martins (Inter), Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Leonardo Pavoletti (Genoa), Graziano Pellè (Shandong Luneng). Staff – Head Coach: Gian Piero Ventura; Assistant Coaches: Salvatore Sullo, Paolo Vanoli and Gianluca Spinelli; Secretary: Mauro Vladovich; Fitness coaches: Alessandro Innocenti and Giovanni Brignardello; Team Doctors: Enrico Castellacci and Carmine Costabile; Physiotherapists/Masseurs: Fabrizio Scalzi, Emanuele Randelli, Alfonso Casano and Pasquale Raia.
Italy’s schedule for the matches against France and Israel in September:

Sunday 28th August
Players meet in Coverciano following the end of the league matches for their clubs.
Tuesday 30th August
10:30 Training (closed)
13:30 Press conference including presentation of the new Club Italia
16:15 Press conference with one player 
17:00 Video session followed by training (first 20' open to press)

Wednesday 31st August          
10:00 Training (closed)
16:30 Training (closed)
17:30 Team leaves Coverciano for Florence airport
18:15 Chartered flight from Florence to Bari
19:30 Arrival in Bari and transfer to Stadio San Nicola
19:45 Press conference (coach and one player)
Thursday 1st September                                                                                          
At the end of the match, there will be a press meeting and players will return to the hotel for dinner
Friday 2nd September
17:30 Training at the Stadio San Nicola (first 20’ open to press)
Saturday 3rd September
10:30 Training at the Stadio San Nicola (first 20’ open to press)
followed by meeting with the press
17:00 Training at the Stadio San Nicola (closed)
Sunday 4th September         
10:00 Training at the Stadio San Nicola (closed)
15:15 Chartered flight from Bari to Tel Aviv departs                                                                            
19:05 (18:05 CEST) Chartered flight arrives in Tel Aviv and squad transfer by bus to Haifa (1h 20mins) 
20:45 (19:45 CEST) Pitch inspection at the S. Hofer Stadium and press conference with head coach and one player
Followed by transfer to hotel                    
Monday 5th September
Followed by meeting with the press and transfer to hotel
Tuesday 6th September
12:30 (11:30 CEST) Chartered flight leaves Tel Aviv for Milan Malpensa via Rome Fiumincino
*NB: You are kindly reminded that access to the National Training Centre in Coverciano, the Stadio San Nicola in Bari, and the S. Hofer Stadium in Haifa will only be permitted to accredited Media staff who have received accreditation via before 23rd August 2016 ( – Area Media – Info per le Redazioni). ]]>