Daniele Rugani is one of the brightest prospects going in Italy these days. The Juventus-owned defender, currently getting his first taste of Serie A football on loan at Empoli, is being tipped for big things despite just a few top-flight appearances currently under his belt.
A sign of how things are going for him this season: Rugani, at the tender age of 20, has been called up by Antonio Conte, the young defender's first-ever call-up to the Azzurri. Yep, one of Juventus' defenders of the future is going to be wearing the Azzurri jersey for the first time — which seemed like a mere formality after he was excluded from the Italy Under-21 roster for their European Championship playoff against Slovakia.
The full list of players called up by Conte for Italy's Euro 2016 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Malta are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Mattia Perin, Salvatore Sirigu
Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Angelo Ogbonna, Andrea Ranocchia, Daniele Rugani
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani, Giacomo Bonaventura, Antonio Candreva, Matteo Darmian, Mattia De Sciglio, Alessandro Florenzi, Claudio Marchisio, Marco Parolo, Manuel Pasqual, Andrea Poli, Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti
Forwards: Mattia Destro, Sebastian Giovinco, Ciro Immobile, Dani Osvaldo, Graziano Pellé, Simone Zaza
There are the usual Juventus players there, as well as Sebastian Giovinco, who has played all of 90 minutes in Serie A this season. There would likely be room for Andrea Pirlo if he were totally healthy and playing again, but he was only just included in Juventus' squad for the top-of-the-table clash against Roma on Sunday night.
Throw in all the other Juventus connections in that squad and Antonio Conte is going to start receiving hate mail. Well, maybe not just yet since he's excluded Mario Balotelli once again. That might win him a few fans.
E Padoin ancora niente Nazionale. Mah.— Antonio Corsa (@AntonioCorsa) October 4, 2014
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