MILAN: Gianluca Scamacca has played his way into Italy’s provisional squad for Euro 2024 after a phenomenal end to the season, as coach Luciano Spalletti announced on Thursday his provisional squad for Germany.

Striker Scamacca was pic­ked by Spalletti after sco­ring 11 goals and setting up four more in all competitions since the start of Mar­ch, helping fire Atala­nta to their historic Europa Lea­g­ue triumph on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old had been dropped for Italy’s March friendlies with Venezuela and Ecuador by Spalletti who railed against footballers “playing on the PlayStation until four in the morning”, a comment widely interpreted as being directed at Scamacca.

Spalletti has selected the in-form Scamacca in an attempt to resolve Italy’s long-standing problem of finding reliable strikers.

Inconsistent Ciro Immobile — one of the pivotal figures in Italy’s Euro triumph three years ago — has been dropped.

Should Scamacca lead the line for Italy he will play alongside Juventus star Federico Chiesa, whose team-mate Nicolo Fagioli is a surprise inclusion among the midfielders after missing almost the entire season.

Fagioli made his first Juventus appearance since October on Monday following his seven-month ban for gambling on football matches.

The betting scandal cost Newcastle United midfie­lder Sandro Tonali his place on the plane for the Euro, which starts on June 14.

Fagioli is one of a number of younger players who have replaced veterans of the last Euro victory like former Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti who moved to Al-Arabi in Qatar last summer.

Verratti has never been called up by Spalletti since he replaced Roberto Mancini in August last year.

Manuel Locatelli earned himself a move to Juventus from Sassuolo by impressing at the last Euro but was also dropped by Spalletti, the midfielder expressing his dismay by posting a black screen on Instagram.

Other big names from three years ago, when Italy beat England in a dramatic Wembley final, who won’t travel to Germany include retired captain Giorgio Chi­e­llini, his centre-back partner Leonardo Bonucci and winger Lorenzo Insigne.

On June 6 Spalletti will announce his final squad which will face Spain, Croatia and Albania in Group ‘B’.

Italy play Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina in pre-tournament friendlies early next month.

Provisional Italy squad: Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris St-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Ivan Provedel (Lazio), Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham Hotspur); Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Inter Milan), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), Raoul Bellanova (Torino), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter Milan), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter Milan), Gianluca Mancini (AS Roma), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta); Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Nicolo Fagioli (Juventus), Michael Folorunsho (Verona), Davide Frattesi (Inter Milan), Jorginho (Arsenal), Lorenzo Pellegrini (AS Roma), Samuele Ricci (Torino); Forwards: Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (AS Roma), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Mateo Retegui (Genoa), Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta), Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio).

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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