The latest training session held by Italy on Thursday provided a potentially telling insight into the country’s personnel options for this weekend.
Roberto Mancini’s red-hot outfit are of course set to get their Euro 2020 campaign back underway on Saturday night.
The Azzurri, regarded by most as the tournament’s standout performers thus far, will make the trip to Wembley, for a Last-16 showdown with underdogs Austria.
Italy head into proceedings with spirits high in the nation’s camp, on the back of a trio of successive group stage victories, which made it 11 in a row across all competitions, without the concession of a single goal.
WHAT A RUN BY BERARDI!
LOCATELLI FINISHES IT 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/eMQ3kTwVr0
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 16, 2021
One concern amid an otherwise stellar tournament to date for the Azzurri, however, came on the personnel front.
After Alessandro Florenzi was forced off during an opening day drubbing of Turkey, even more concerning was Giorgio Chiellini limping out of Italy’s meeting with Switzerland.
The Juventus stopper subsequently sat out the country’s group stage closer versus Wales, with his potential participation this weekend having since remained up in the air.
On Thursday, though, a fresh insight into the situation has been provided.
Chiellini, as per Football-Italia, has returned to full training alongside the rest of Roberto Mancini’s squad.
Significantly, however, the veteran stopper was not included in the first-choice XI tested by the Italy boss, during a match between ranks this afternoon.
Instead, Leonardo Bonucci was partnered by Lazio star Francesco Acerbi.
Also potentially telling was Marco Verratti being preferred to Manuel Locatelli, despite the latter’s group stage heroics.
As per a mounting number of sources, PSG’s midfield metronome now looks the favourite to be given the nod from the off on Saturday, with Locatelli confined to the bench.
Predicted Italy XI to face Austria:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bonucci, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
Giorgio Chiellini is back training with the full Italy squad ahead of the Euro 2020 Round of 16 against Austria, while Marco Verratti is preferred to Manuel Locatelli https://t.co/EHnhvB5zG7 #ITA #AUT #ITAAUT #Euro2020 #Azzurri pic.twitter.com/TOIABGM5fZ
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 24, 2021