Cesare Prandelli expects Andrea Pirlo to be on the plane that takes Italy to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Juventus midfielder, who was pivotal in guiding his team to this year’s European Championship final, will be 35 in two years’ time, but age is not a factor in the eyes of his national coach.
“Andrea has to decide for himself and in good time what he wants to do in the future and he still feels the desire to be a key player in the position,” Prandelli told Raisport.
“He wants to play to the World Cup and for us he’ll always be important.”
Pirlo has made 91 appearances for the national team, scoring 10 goals.
Prandelli plans to bring a number of younger players into the squad as he looks to find a balance between experienced heads and exciting prospects.
He has already first international call-ups to 19-year-old AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy and 21-year-old Roma forward Mattia Destro since the European Championships.
“We’ve got to renew and plot our future,” he added.
“We can’t think about getting to such a tournament without making changes. The younger players need patience but the quality is there.”