Antonio Conte says Mario Balotelli has work to do before he will be reconsidered for an Italy recall ahead of the national side’s final two Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Conte’s men are on the verge of qualification ahead of their clashes with Azerbaijan and Norway, but Balotelli was a notable absentee from the squad while Domenico Berardi was rewarded with his first call-up.
Berardi has since been forced out due to a muscle injury, with Conte opting not to call up a replacement for the Sassuolo striker.
Instead, Conte challenged Balotelli to maintain his improved form since returning to Milan on loan from Liverpool in order to win a recall to the squad.
“There’s still a path to follow to get to the national team and two [full Milan] games are not enough to re-open the doors,” the former Juventus boss explained.
“I need certainty – that goes for him and everyone else.
“We need consistency and good performances. Mario has to be determined and find consistency.”
Berardi has scored 31 Serie A goals for Sassuolo over the past two seasons and Conte is not too concerned by his injury setback.
“Unfortunately he’s had a problem,” Conte added.
“He’s had tests and it’s not anything serious. He was feeling a lot of pain, which worried him, and he preferred to rest and recuperate.”