Italy coach Roberto Mancini has dropped Moise Kean and Nicolo Zaniolo from his squad picked on Friday to face Armenia and Finland in Euro 2020 qualifying, punishing the starlets for their behaviour during the Under-21 European Championships.
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, 35, who had been named in the squad, was later ruled out as he will undergo surgery after tearing a ligament in his right knee during training with the Serie A champions on Friday.
Mancini has called up Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi in place of 103-times capped Chiellini.
Roma’s exciting midfielder Zaniolo, 20, and Everton’s new 19-year-old signing Kean were selected by Mancini last season after bursting onto the scene with impressive displays in Serie A.
However they were dropped for Italy’s last group game during the summer’s Under-21 tournament, held in their home country, after arriving late for a video session and, as predicted by Italian media, Mancini has decided to extend the punishment to the upcoming senior matches.
The Azzurri, three points clear at top of Group J after winning all four of their matches so far, travel to Armenia on Thursday before taking on second-placed Finland away three days later.
Full-back Luca Pellegrini, loaned to Cagliari after being bought by Juventus from Roma this summer, is the only new face in the squad.
Meanwhile Mario Balotelli, newly of hometown team Brescia, has not been selected as he serves a four-match suspension for a red card he picked up with Marseille at the end of last season.
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