Roberto Mancini insists England remain ‘one of the best teams in the world’ | The Independent

Roberto Mancini insists England remain ‘one of the best teams in the world’

Gareth Southgate’s men take on Mancini’s Italy in Milan on Friday in a must-win Nations League match

Mark Walker
Thursday 22 September 2022 13:40
Comments

Italy coach Roberto Mancini says England remain “one of the best teams in the world” despite their two recent defeats to Hungary.

England, who cannot qualify for the Nations League finals, take on Mancini’s side in their penultimate Group A3 game in Milan on Friday.

Mancini said: “I think England is one of the best teams in the world. It’s full of talent, especially the forwards.

“They have many players apart from Harry Kane, who is an extraordinary player, but the young players around him can make a difference. So it will be a very hard match for us.”

The two sides played out a goalless draw at Molineux in June in their first meeting since Italy’s penalty shoot-out win in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The Three Lions are winless in this season’s Nations League. They sit bottom of their group after taking two points from four matches and will be relegated if they fail to win in Milan.

Their 1-0 and 4-0 defeats to Hungary, in Budapest in June and at Molineux in July, sandwiched draws against Germany and Italy.

But Mancini, whose side will stay in contention for the finals if they avoid defeat to Gareth Southgate’s side, is paying little attention to recent results.

“The English team is a great team,” Mancini said. “It was a great team in Euro 2020 and it was a great team before.

“It’s a national team full of talented players and I believe they can improve further, even though they lost two matches against Hungary.

“I think that the English players at the end of the season are very tired because they play much more matches than other national teams.”

Italy skipper Leonardo Bonucci feels his side can use England’s visit to Milan to gauge themselves in the world order following their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

Bonucci said: “It’s going to be a very important match because it will tell us where we are in this rebirth, let’s say.

“Because after failing to qualify for the World Cup the coach has changed many players, so tomorrow we will understand where we really are, where we need to improve and if there is something to improve.

“But I think this will be the best match possible to start again and to build something new and important for the future.

“England are a great team so we need to pay attention to their individual qualities because offensively they have very talented players, who can change the match in the blink of an eye.”

Mancini confirmed AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali was expected to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in