Mario Balotelli named in Italy squad for first time since 2018

Jeremy Caroll

Mario Balotelli was named in the Italy squad for the first time since 2018 on Monday, as the Adana Demirspor striker joined seven uncapped players in Roberto Mancini’s 35-man training camp selection.

Balotelli, who worked under Azzurri manager Mancini prior in his career at Inter Milan and Manchester City, has not been featured for the national team since September 2018.

However, the 31-year-old earned a recall during the current week’s three-day training camp in the wake of scoring eight goals in 18 league games to fire Adana Demirspor to fourth place in the Turkish Super Lig.

It will be one of Mancini’s last chances to get his players together before their FIFA World Cup play-off semi-final against North Macedonia on March 24. The winners of that match will face Portugal or Turkey for a spot in Qatar.

They will be joined by five uncapped youngsters: Cremonese goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi, Atalanta defender Giorgio Scalvini and midfielders Davide Frattesi, Samuele Ricci and Nicolo Fagioli of Sassuolo, Empoli and Cremonese respectively.

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