Pelle makes Italy squad, Balotelli misses out

October 5, 2014
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Italy TrainingLiverpool star Mario Balotelli has been overlooked by Italy boss Antonio Conte as he named his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The controversial forward has had a difficult start to his career at Anfield and was dropped to the bench for yesterday’s clash against West Brom.

He has in turn missed out on Italy squad for the qualifying games against Azerbaijan and Malta, meaning he has yet to be called by new boss Antonio Conte.

Graziano Pelle, another Italian arriving in English Premier League this summer, was rewarded for his fine form by earning his first ever Azzurri call-up, with the former Parma striker netting four times in six league outings this term.

Empoli stopper Daniele Rugani is probably the biggest surprise in the squad, while there is still no place for Andrea Pirlo, who has only just resumed training from injury.

Milan recruit Giacomo Bonaventura and Inter’s Pablo Osvaldo are also in the mix, while Thiago Motta and Manuel Pasqual have been recalled.

Having defeated Norway in their opening fixture, Italy host Azerbaijan on Friday, with the Azzurri 1.08 (2/25) with Ladbrokes to claim maximum points.

Italy squad:

Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), Perin (Genoa), Sirigu (Paris St-Germain);

Defenders: Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Ogbonna (Juventus), Ranocchia (Inter Milan), Rugani (Empoli);

Midfielders: Aquilani (Fiorentina), Bonaventura (AC Milan), Candreva (Lazio), Darmian (Torino), De Sciglio (AC Milan), Florenzi (Roma), Marchisio (Juventus), Motta (Paris St-Germain), Parolo (Lazio), Pasqual (Fiorentina), Poli (AC Milan), Verratti (Paris St-Germain);

Forwards: Destro (Roma), Giovinco (Juventus), Immobile (Borussia Dortmund), Osvaldo (Inter Milan), Pelle (Southampton), Zaza (Sassuolo).

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