Di Biagio ahead of the Hungary friendly: “We have to continue with the same enthusiasm.”

In Di Biagio’s opinion, this new under-21 team will be a good one: “There are a lot of players born in 1994; some of them even on the verge of being called up for the senior team – the ultimate aim for us. In addition, there are a lot of players born in 1996 too: I expect answers on the pitch in order to assess whether they’ll be important pieces of this team in this new two-year period. I think this is a good U21 team.”
Di Biagio offered a few words on Alessio Romagnoli, who had initially joined the squad, but was allowed to withdraw in order to have a medical ahead of his proposed transfer: “His skills and his personality mean he has great things ahead of him. His transfer from AS Roma to AC Milan is impressive. Alessio is a great prospect and he has great value on the transfer market. I’m happy for him, but also for us, for the whole of Italian football. Romagnoli will be worth even more in two years. I talked to him a lot yesterday, I told him that he will be judged in a different way from now on. A normal performance would’ve have been considered positive three months ago, but now even a good performance could be portrayed negatively, because more is expected of him. When you play at the San Siro, you have to play with style as well as work hard; it’s a special stadium, with a very demanding crowd.  I warned him to prepare himself. It could well be that he plays 80 flawless minutes, but two mistakes in controlling the ball could determine people’s judgement of him entirely. I’m sure that Mihajlovic will tell him the same things.”
Giancarlo Antognoni, a new member of the U21 staff, will take up the role of head of delegation:  “I’ll do what I’ve always done,” explained the 1982 World Cup winner, “This is an important task for me. The U21 team is one step below the senior team. It’s an important team and I hope contribute to the development of these young players. There are a lot of players who don’t get many minutes at their respective clubs. If the young Italian players don’t play, we will struggle.” The first training session took place in Rome this morning with many players still missing. Nine players, all of whom were involved in Italian Cup action yesterday, will join the squad this afternoon. Due to injuries suffered at their respective clubs, Garritano (Cesena) and Parigini (Perugia) have left the squad too. The Azzurrini will leave for Telki tomorrow morning. This friendly is a good test ahead of the European Championship qualifiers. Italy will get their campaign underway against Slovenia in Reggio Emilia on 8th September. Squad:
Cragno (Cagliari), Provedel (Modena), Scuffet (Udinese);
Defenders: Barreca (Cagliari), Calabresi (Livorno), Conti (Atalanta), Fontanesi (Sassuolo), Murru (Cagliari), Somma (Brescia), Venuti (Brescia), Vicari (Novara);
Midfielders: Benassi (Torino), Fazzi (Fiorentina), Gagliardini (Vicenza), Grassi (Atalanta), Mandragora (Pescara), Verre (Udinese);
Forwards: Aramu (Torino), Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Boateng (Bari), Cerri (Juventus), Rosseti (Cesena), Verde (Frosinone).
Head of the delegation: Antognoni
Head coach: Di Biagio
Secretary: Cozzi
Assistant manager: Nunziata
Goalkeeping coach: Chimenti
Fitness coach: Azzone
Doctors: De Carli e Santoriello
Sports masseurs: Paolini e Scalzi
Warehouse workers: Turco e Basile Schedule Monday, 10th August
10:00 CEST            Training session at the Mancini Park Hotel (behind closed doors)
13:15 CEST            Press conference (head coach and players)
17:30 CEST            Training session at the Mancini Park Hotel  (open to the press) Tuesday, 11th August
11:50 CEST           Flight LH 1843 Rome to Munich
14:40 CEST           Flight LH1678 Munich to Budapest
18:00 CEST           Training session at the Telki Sport Center (open to the press for the first 15 minutes) followed by transfer to the Novotel Budapest City Hotel Wednesday, 12th August
21:00 CEST            Friendly match: Hungary U21 vs. Italy U21 at the Telki Sport Center stadium – Telki.
                              Post-match press conference Thursday, 13th August
09:40 CEST          Flight LH1335 Budapest to Frankfurt followed by transfer to respective clubs ]]>