We haven't had an international break to slog through in months. The football has been fast and frequent, with Juventus playing on all three fronts until a couple of days ago. With no more Euro 2016 qualifiers to take care of,
Departing Italy manager Antonio Conte has called up four Juventus players — goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defenders Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci and striker Simone Zaza — for the Azzurri's upcoming friendlies against Álvaro Morata and Spain and then Sami Khedira and Germany. Italy will play Spain at the Dacia Arena — formerly known as the Stadio Friuli — in Udine on Thursday night before traveling to heading to Munich next Tuesday.
The complete 23-man roster for the Spain and Germany friendlies is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Mattia Perin, Salvatore Sirigu
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Luca Antonelli, Davide Astori, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Matteo Darmian, Lorenzo De Silvestri, Andrea Ranocchia
Midfielders: Giacomo Bonaventura, Alessandro Florenzi, Emanuele Giaccherini, Jorginho, Riccardo Montolivo, Thiago Motta, Marco Parolo, Roberto Soriano, Marco Verratti
Forwards: Federico Bernardeschi, Antonio Candreva, Eder, Stephan El Shaarawy,
Ciro ImmobileStefano Okaka, Lorenzo Insigne, Graziano Pellè, Simone Zaza
In terms of the Juventus contingent called up by Conte, none of these names are surprising. It would obviously be more plentiful if the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Giorgio Chiellini weren't out injured right now. And maybe if Daniele Rugani were playing a little more regularly, he'd be with the senior squad rather than the Under-21 side the next 10 or so days.
The interesting part in all of this involves the other players who got called up by Conte.
For one, you have the first senior team call-up for Insigne, who has easily been one of Napoli's best players not named Gonzalo Higuain this season. Then there's one of this season's biggest revelations, 22-year-old Fiorentina starlet Bernardeschi, who, alongside Insigne, gets his first senior team call-up this week.
With this being one of the last squads Conte will name before his tenure with the Azzurri comes to an end — and the subsequent expectation that he goes to England to manage Chelsea — we could be in for a good hint what he will be taking to the European Championships this summer. Of course, if they are healthy come the summer months, then Marchisio and Chiellini will be there. And see as the likes of Insigne and Bernardeschi are there, too, then maybe this is allowing some of Serie A's best youngsters to try and make a name for themselves before the final Euro roster cut. (As well as setting things up for the future months beyond the summer.)