Soccer-Prandelli wants more chances for young Italian players

Reuters

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli wants the country's clubs to give more openings to young players and place less emphasis on signing foreigners, he said on Monday.

While Italian clubs were busy patching up last minute deals on transfer deadline day, mainly involving foreign players, Prandelli suggested they could use more home-grown talent.

"It was thought that the presence of so many foreigners could be an incentive for our youngsters, but, as we've seen, that hasn't been the case," he told reporters.

"We need to reflect on this. We have to study and plan: if I were the president of a club, I would think about working with the young players and bringing them into the first team.

"After that, you can complete the team with foreigners, good foreigners. We must not abandon the young players. We have to look at reality.

"In the championships, they don't get places in the teams on a regular basis," he added. "To develop great players, you need to subject them to competition."

His comments came five days after Catania fielded nine Argentine players in their starting line-up for a game at Fiorentina.

Italy, four points clear at the top of European Group B, host second-placed Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier in Palermo on Friday and the Czech Republic in Turin the following Tuesday.

The four-times world champions will be without strikers Mario Balotelli and Pablo Osvaldo against Bulgaria, as they both serve suspensions.

"Balotelli is 23 years old and has got everything it takes," said Prandelli. "The great players all have to deal with provocation and when Mario succeeds at thinking only about playing 90 minutes, we will have found a champion."

Prandelli has recalled Paris St Germain midfielder Thiago Motta to the squad for the first time since Euro 2012, but did not pick forward Giuseppe Rossi who has scored three goals in two games for Fiorentina this season after returning from two successive knee injuries.

"I'm following him with great interest. He's now finding his best condition again," said Prandelli. "But we mustn't push things by calling him up for the national team at this point." (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Justin Palmer)

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