Azzurri set to face England at Wembley. Di Biagio: “We must still improve but we’re on the right path”

Azzurri set to face England at Wembley. Di Biagio: “We must still improve

Following Friday’s friendly against Argentina, Italy are now set for another tough test, as they play England at Wembley tomorrow. It is a fixture that coach Luigi Di Biagio expects his side to up their game for: “We must do better than we did in Manchester,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “I’ve said this to the players. However, the path we’re taking is the right one. We did very well in the second half against Argentina, during which we created a lot of good chances. If the match would’ve finished 0-0 then I would’ve been disappointed. Ultimately, we ended up losing, but it’s disappointing to read in some newspapers that we have zero shots on goal, it wasn’t like that.”

It will be a different Italy side that turns out on Tuesday, with Di Biagio admitting that he does have some changes in mind: “The only player who is sure to play is Donnarumma, even if Perin is also fighting hard. I will make four or five changes in comparison to the game against Argentina, although I still haven’t decided on my formation.”

Leonardo Bonucci was also on hand to speak about his Milanese teammate: “Donnarumma must remain calm,” he said. “Without thinking that he is Buffon’s heir. He has a lot of room for improvement and he can become the best goalkeeper in the world. Italy, as a whole, must grow in terms of experience, especially considering that a lot of young players don’t have a huge amount of chances to do so with their respective clubs. Pellegrini said that he is tired of seeing other teams win and this is the right mentality to have. It will take time to return to the top and our rebirth will not be easy or fast.”

As for Di Biagio’s coaching counterpart, England’s Gareth Southgate is certain that Italy will prove to be tough competition: “I don't think they are in as much of a state as some people think,” he said. “They didn’t qualify for the World Cup because they had to compete with Spain, but they still have some great players. They are a proud footballing nation, they won't come to Wembley and roll over. Italy are in a flux of change, but they have a coach who organises his teams well. It will be a good test for us and it will be a great challenge to play against them.”

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