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Mangia happy for elevated trio

Italy Under-21 coach Devis Mangia said the promotion of three eligible starlets to the senior squad does not bother him.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy and Roma striker Mattia Destro have all earned senior squad positions from coach Cesare Prandelli.

The Italian youth squad have been handed Fabio Borini and Lorenzo Insigne – who have been dropped from the senior squad – but Mangia insists he has no qualms with the cream of his crop furthering their international careers.

“I’m very happy with my squad,” the ex-Palermo boss told reporters on Thursday.

“This is a team that has changed since qualification, partly because of technical decisions, injuries and because players like Verratti, El Shaarawy and Destro have been called up by Cesare Prandelli.”

When asked if Verratti’s absence could harm the Under-21s chances in their two-legged play-off against Sweden in the international break, Mangia said he felt he had able replacements at his disposal.

“Verratti is an excellent player, but I’ve never had him at my disposal,” he explained.

“I’ve still got some good midfielders who complement each other. It doesn’t matter who is not here, what matters are the players who are. I’m happy for those who are already part of the full set-up.”

Mangia’s side host their Scandinavian opposition on Friday before travelling to Sweden on Tuesday, for their Euro 2013 play-off, as they look to qualify for next year’s tournament.

And the 38-year-old said he is expecting a difficult test against a side who won their group.

“We’re facing an organised side with good individuality,” Mangia continued.

“Sweden won their group and they’re not an opponent to be underestimated.

“There is tension within the camp, but we are very hopeful. They will be two important games and I hope the team puts in two good performances.

“We’ll look to continue the progress which has been made over these last few years.”

Thu 11 October, 2012
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