5 Players Italy Should Call Up for Euro 2016 Qualification Campaign

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistJuly 7, 2014

5 Players Italy Should Call Up for Euro 2016 Qualification Campaign

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    With their disastrous World Cup campaign behind them, Italy must quickly move on to the future as the new season looms ever closer.

    Yet to appoint a new president of their football federation, the Azzurri will soon be launched into the quest for qualification for Euro 2016.

    The new coach—also still to be named following the resignation of Cesare Prandelli—will have to make instant improvements to the team which so drastically collapsed in Brazil this summer.

    Having watched the former Fiorentina boss try out a wealth of formations, the new boss will likely need new players in the squad to achieve his aims.

    Over the following pages are five names Italy should add to the squad, ranked in order of the impact their presence should have on the side's on-field performance.

    These players could perhaps have helped avoid the embarrassment suffered this summer and may well prove to be central to the future of the national side.

5. Alessandro Florenzi

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    Riccardo De Luca/Associated Press

    With Andrea Pirlo retiring from international duty, both Italy’s midfield and style of play could drastically change.

    Alessandro Florenzi can help them make that transition.

    Vital to Roma’s resurgence last season, the 23-year-old recorded six goals and seven assists in 2013-14, according to stats site WhoScored.com.

    The same source shows he played on both flanks and in central midfield, showing the versatility and attacking intent so desperately missing from Prandelli’s Brazilian misadventure.

4. Mattia Destro

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    Marco Vasini/Associated Press

    With Italy lacking genuine options from the bench, the decision to omit Mattia Destro from the squad must be one Cesare Prandelli regrets the most.

    The 23-year-old striker proved this season that he is a legitimate scoring threat and can often provide that even in substitute showings.

    The Roma forward netted 13 goals in just 20 league appearances, playing all three attacking roles in Rudi Garcia’s 4-3-3 formation.

    He could give Italy’s new coach a dangerous weapon off the bench, as well as a valid alternative to the regular Azzurri front men. 

3. Domenico Berardi

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Despite the presence of some highly talented youngsters in the World Cup squad, perhaps no player best represents the bright future of the Azzurri than Domenico Berardi.

    The Sassuolo winger took Serie A by storm in his first season in the top flight. The fact he did so as a 19-year-old makes it even more remarkable.

    Netting 16 goals and weighing in with six assists, according to WhoScored.com, his combination of pace, skill and vision was so sorely lacking this summer.

    His maiden call-up cannot be too far away, and his ability to make yet another leap in class could perhaps determine his own career path. 

2. Stephan El Shaarawy

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    While the three names previously mentioned have yet to truly launch their international careers, Stephan El Shaarawy has suffered a stuttering start to life in an Azzurri shirt.

    Already with 10 caps to his name, the Milan striker has formed an excellent understanding with Mario Balotelli when the two represent Italy together.

    Having been part of the squad which competed in last summer’s Confederations Cup, the 21-year-old missed the majority of 2013-14 with injury.

    Playing just nine times in the entire campaign, he will hope the new season brings with it a return to the kind of form he showed previously, adding pace and directness to a predictable attack. 

1. Giuseppe Rossi

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    There is surely no doubt that even a half-fit Giuseppe Rossi could have helped Italy more this summer than Antonio Cassano did.

    While the Parma forward lumbered through matches, the injection of sharpness Rossi provides would have been invaluable.

    The 27-year-old was Serie A’s leading scorer before suffering an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee back in January, per Football Italia. He returned in May to net two goals, taking his tally for the season to 17 in all competitions, according to WhoScored.com.

    Unfortunate not to be part of the squad which travelled to Brazil, it is now impossible to imagine an Azzurri without the former Manchester United striker leading the way.