Luigi Di Biagio insisted “it is our duty” for Italy to win the European Under-21 Championships this summer in front of their own fans and denied snubbing the U20 World Cup team.
The tournament kicks off in Italy and San Marino next Sunday and the Azzurrini find themselves in a group containing Spain, Belgium and Poland.
The 48-year-old tactician named what was a strong squad featuring the likes of Federico Chiesa, Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini ahead of their opening game against Spain on June 16 at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
“We have a duty to try and win it,” he said at his Press conference.
“I’m optimistic, the fact we are playing at home can only be an advantage. The fan’s support will help us, and we will look to benefit from their enthusiasm.”
Davide Calabria’s injury forced the Milan right-back out of the competition and the Azzurrini tactician spoke about the difficulties in selecting his squad, as there is an overlap in competitions this summer.
“Unfortunately, Calabria wasn’t able to make it. He hadn’t recovered from his injury and we didn’t want to risk him making it worse. In these cases, the player’s health always comes first.”
Andrea Pinamonti was named in the squad despite currently playing in the World Cup with the U20 team, and there have also been murmurs about the Coach not doing enough to help the U20s in their bid for glory.
“Luca Pellegrini and Pinamonti were both meant to join up with us on May 29, but we decided to let them stay with the U20 team.
“However, we couldn’t run the risk of waiting for two players to turn up on June 15, so I just added Pinamonti to the final 23-man squad.
“I won’t be bringing a reserve, but if we have to call someone up, they will probably come from the Under-20’s. People have said that we didn’t give any players to the U20’s, but that’s not true, the only two who were eligible were Pinamonti and Pellegrini.
“Nicolò Zaniolo, and Moise Kean are both full national team players now, and we even had a doubt whether Sandro Tonali would be with us or the senior team. I’ve done all I can for the U20’s and anyone who says differently is a liar.”