Italy coach Cesare Prandelli claims he has 18 players in mind for his FIFA World Cup squad, but refused to be drawn on Francesco Totti.
Prandelli is currently running the rule over 42 players at an Italy training camp in Coverciano as the countdown to this year’s World Cup continues.
And while he stated that all involved in the camp have a chance of being involved in Brazil, the 56-year-old revealed he already has an idea of who will form the bulk of Italy’s 23-man squad.
“The 23 for Brazil? I do not even know that myself,” Prandelli told reporters.
“I have only 18 in my head. To complete that, I have to first understand how those 18 are and then add the others.”
Veterans Totti and Luca Toni have enjoyed excellent Serie A seasons, but have not been called up by Prandelli.
And he quickly moved on when asked about the pair, who both played key roles in Italy’s famous 2006 World Cup win.
“For Totti we must have the utmost respect, so I will not go into the details,” he said.
“I know Luca very well, his championship (this season) is extraordinary, but perhaps it is better to speak of those who are here in Coverciano.”
One experienced forward Prandelli was willing to talk about was Parma’s Antonio Cassano.
With 11 goals in 29 Serie A appearances this season, Cassano has helped fire Parma towards a European places and club manager Roberto Donadoni appears to have convinced Prandelli of his worth.
“Antonio Cassano? More than anything I met with Roberto Donadoni,” he added.
“He made me realise that, apart from the Christmas period, the boy has had continuity of performance and behaved very well.”
Prandelli also re-iterated that he will “absolutely” sign a new contract before the World Cup begins.
The agreement between the coach and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has already been announced, but Prandelli is still yet to officially sign.
Italy will meet England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D at this year’s tournament.