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Ebrahim Sadien On March - 21 - 2013

Azzurri Focus: Milan Five Called Up By Prandelli

Five Milan players have been called up by Italian coach Cesare Prandelli. The Azzurri play a International friendly against Brazil on Thursday and then a World Cup qualifier against Malta five days later.

A look at the five Milan players called up:

Riccardo Montolivo
Montolivo has been a vital cog in the Milan machine that has seen them surge up the Serie A table. He has controlled the midfield and become a central figure in this season’s new look Milan side. Montolivo is also no stranger to Prandelli, having been tutored under the Italian tactician at Fiorentina. Together they saw Fiorentina reach the last 16 of the Champions League in one of the Viola’s finest recent season’s. Strangely enough Montolivo has yet to secure a consistent place or position within Prandelli’s starting 11 Used predominantly in the Trequartista role by Prandelli, Montolivo has categorically stated that it is not his preferred role. At Milan he has played either in the deep lying regista or a mezz’ala role in Max Allegri’s 4-3-3 formation. Despite not yet finding a settled position for the Milan playmaker, Prandelli knows full well the abundance of quality and ability he receives from including Montolivo anywhere in his starting 11

Stephan El Shaarawy
II Faraone’s meteoric rise at Milan this season has seen him now become an integral aspect of the Azzurri’s strike force. Prandelli has had nothing but praise for the 20-year-old year old, who is only beginning his International career. “I do not remember seeing a second striker like El Shaarawy, someone who contributes so much to the team defensively,” Prandelli told a press conference. El Shaarawy’s goals almost single-handedly pushed Milan up the table during the middle part of the season. Prandelli will be hoping the young Italian continues this goal scoring form for the National team. With one goal in four appearances for the Azzurri, El Shaarawy looks set to link up with teammate Mario Balotelli in Prandelli’s starting 11

Ignazio Abate
The 26 year old full back has been unable to secure a regular spot in Prandelli’s starting 11 Having made his debut for Italy in November 2011, Abate has consistently been competing with Napoli’s Christian Maggio for a starting birth. Having been hampered by injuries at the beginning of the current season, Abate has steadily improved. Consistent performances for Milan has seen him rewarded with a further call up by Prandelli. With eight caps to his name Abate will be looking for positive performances against Brazil and Malta to secure his spot in the National jersey.

Mattia De Scgilio
At just 20 years of age and a product of the Milan youth system, De Scgilio has already been lauded as the new Paolo Maldini. Such praise can only be kept for a truly special player and De Scgilio has all the makings of becoming just that.
His performances for Milan have received praise from all corners and he has justifiably caught the attention of Prandelli. The Milan defender is versatile as can play at either right or left full-back, posses plenty of pace and strength and has proved calm under pressure. De Scgilio adds tremendous value on both defense and attack and could be set to make his International debut this week.

Mario Balotelli
Of all the Milan players called up to the National team, there is no doubt most of the noise and hype will surround Mario Balotelli. Having scored seven goals in six appearances for Milan, the center forward is showing the consistency Prandelli has been calling for. “His greatest achievement is now he is remaining focused for long stretches of the game,” he told reporters on Monday. It is extraordinary that he is continuing  to do this at Milan. “He is training better, with more attention to detail too because he knows he has to play that way in the national team.” Balotelli burst onto the International scene at Euro 2012. His two goals against Germany in the semi-final displayed his full potential to all those that had doubted him before. Prandelli’s only concern was his ability to stay focused for the entire game and also searched for more consistency. Now that Mario has seemed to have improved those elements of his game at Milan, the National team will look to benefit. The exciting due of Balotelli and El Shaarawy, only 22 and 20 years old respectively, will hope to form a combination in attack for the Azzurri for many years to come.

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