Roberto Mancini Heaps Praise on Juventus Stars Moise Kean, Federico Bernardeschi

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2019

Juventus' Italian forward Moise Kean (C) celebrates opening the scoring with (From L) Juventus' Italian defender Leonardo Spinazzola, Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi and Juventus' Italian forward Federico Bernardeschi during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Udinese on March 8, 2019 at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Italy manager Roberto Mancini highlighted two Juventus players in his squad ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Finland on Saturday, saying Moise Kean is "destined for greatness" and hailing Federico Bernardeschi's versatility.

The Azzurri face a crucial qualifying campaign after missing out on the most recent World Cup, and Mancini has infused the squad with a bunch of new, talented players.

One of those is Kean, and the tactician told Rai Sport (h/t Football Italia) the teenager has a bright future:

"I think Kean is destined for greatness. He is a player with a lot of quality, is improving all the time and I believe can become a very important player.

"Kean has always done well and has immense potential, but let's also not forget he is still only 19 years old, so we can't expect too much of him. There are going to be errors, but I maintain we are on the right path.

"I generally focused on slightly younger players so they can build the future of this Nazionale. Obviously, we also need more experienced figures who know how to guide the youngsters, because enthusiasm and desire are great, but experience does count in these situations."

UDINE, ITALY - MARCH 22:  Head coach Italy Roberto Mancini speaks with the media during a press conference at Stadio Friuli-Dacia Arena on March 22, 2019 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Per Football Italia, the 19-year-old is expected to start Saturday's qualifier despite his limited experience. It will make him the first player born in the year 2000 or later to start for the Azzurri.

Kean has only started two matches for Juventus all season, but he scored in both.

He bagged an impressive brace against Udinese, a performance that has increased the hype surrounding him:

Kean's bright future and impressive development have been among the main talking points for the Italian press during the international break, and team-mate Giorgio Chiellini recently revealed how he advised the youngster not to leave the Serie A champions:

Another player entering the international break with a ton of buzz is Bernardeschi. The former Fiorentina star played perhaps his best match for the Bianconeri yet on the biggest stage, with a star showing in the 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo stole the spotlight with his hat-trick, but it was Bernardeschi who provided the assist for the opening goal and won the penalty for the last.

Mancini believes all the 25-year-old lacks to become a genuine superstar is a nose for goals: "Federico has a lot of quality, especially for his age, and I believe he can become a real goalscorer, which is where his game is probably lacking right now. He has the potential to do it, can cover many different roles and that is a big advantage for both him as a player and his coach."

The versatile forward has flashed tantalising scoring potential in the past, notching 11 goals in his final Serie A campaign with Fiorentina. His role in Turin has been that of a supporting player, however, and he has yet to become a regular starter.

His Azzurri team-mates appear to see his potential, handing him the iconic No. 10 shirt in a team vote:

Italy have been drawn into a difficult qualifying group alongside Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein. While the latter two are minnows of European football, Greece and Bosnia in particular have solid teams that have found some success in recent years.

Because of the depth of quality in Group J, the Italians can't afford to drop any points at home, making Saturday's opener in Udine a pivotal clash. Italy's next opponents will be Liechtenstein in Parma on Tuesday. 

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