Mancini reveals how Balotelli can return to Italy squad

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 01: Mario Balotelli of Italy looks on prior to the International Friendly match between France and Italy at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 1, 2018 in Nice, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Italy manager Roberto Mancini has left the door open for Mario Balotelli to return to the national team.

Upon joining Marseille in the January transfer window, Balotelli has rediscovered his scoring touch by finding the net five times in his opening eight Ligue 1 games.

Despite his new-found form at the Stade Velodrome, Mancini overlooked Balotelli for the recent international break in favour of selecting veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella.

An infuriated Balotelli later hit out against Italian supporters by suggesting he would refuse to accept any further call-ups to the national team in future.

However, for Mancini, the former Manchester City striker just needs to work on improving his fitness in order to be within a shout of making the next squad in June’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.

“Mario needs to stay calm and improve his physical shape,” said Mancini, according to Fox Sports.

“He is already progressing in this aspect.

GIBRALTAR, GIBRALTAR - MARCH 23: Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group D qualifying match between Gibraltar and Republic of Ireland at Victoria Stadium on March 23, 2019 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

McCarthy says he “hated” the Ireland win against Gibraltar

The Ireland manager explained how his team felt when they visited the island, saying it was "just bizarre."

“He’s in an important player and a public figure so it’s normal that people talk about him.

“I repeat he has to stay calm and work hard. This has to be his only focus for the coming months.”

Meanwhile, the former Inter Milan coach remained coy on Quagliarella’s own prospects of making the Euro 2020 squad.

This came after Quagliarella scored a brace in Italy’s 6-0 win over Liechtenstein in Tuesday’s qualifier to become the nation’s oldest scorer at 36 years and 54 days old.

“I cannot say that in this moment,” said Mancini.

“He is in great shape right now but it’s hard to make a prediction for June 2020. It’s difficult to say what it can happen.

“He is a serious professional and I believe he can keep this standard until then. He is for sure a striker that knows how to play football and can add something to our game obviously.”

PARMA, ITALY – MARCH 26: Fabio Quagliarella of Italy celebrates his goal of 3-0 during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group J qualifying match between Italy and Liechtenstein at Ennio Tardini on March 26, 2019 in Parma, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)


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