10/8/2018 10:57:33 PM

Tonelli, Piccini get Italy call for Ukraine, Poland games

Tonelli, Piccini get Italy call for Ukraine, Poland games

Milan, Italy: Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Monday called up defenders Cristiano Piccini and Lorenzo Tonelli for the first time to replace injured trio Danilo D'Ambrosio, Patrick Cutrone and Alessio Romagnoli for internationals against the Ukraine and Poland this week.

The Azzurri take on Ukraine in a friendly in Genoa on Wednesday, before playing Poland in the Nations League in Chorzow four days later.

Piccini, 26, who has played outside Italy since 2014, joined Spanish club Valencia from Sporting Lisbon this season.

Tonelli, 28, has impressed since his loan move from Napoli to Sampdoria this year.

"D'Ambrosio, Romagnoli and Cutrone have returned home with various physical problems, we have called Tonelli from Sampdoria and Piccini from Valencia, who will arrive by tonight," said Mancini.

"Piccini's experience is certainly good, at least he always plays, even in the Champions League. I've been following him for some time.

"He can have an important future with us."

Italy are third in their group with just one point, after failing to win their first two games against European champions Portugal and Poland.

But Mancini insisted patience was needed to rebuild Italy who missed out on qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 80 years.

"We knew that the road would not be easy. The word patience is not part of our football vocabulary," said Mancini who took over last May. "The goal is to qualify for the European championships playing the Nations League is better than playing friendly games."

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