Cesare Prandelli wants to see character in Italy's performance against Spain

The coach is keen to see his players show personality in their performance on Wednesday, whilst dismissing Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic's criticism of his 23-man squad
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has expressed his desire to see his side exert character on upcoming opponents Spain, prior to the friendly on Wednesday in Bari.

The former World Cup holders have experienced a renaissance since their trials and tribulations of South Africa in 2010, and the tactician feels their match-up with the Spaniards will act as an accurate marker of the side's progress under his leadership.

"I want to see character and a will in winning the ball and then using it. I'm curious to know where we stand," affirmed Prandelli to GazzettaTV.

"Of course Spain has a competitive advantage from the work they've done in recent years, but I'm sure this match will serve us well."

Prandelli has faced a mixed response to his latest squad, with Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic criticising his decision to not call up striker Alberto Gilardino, in favour of Serie B pair Angelo Palombo and Angelo Ogbonna, but he has explained his reasoning behind calling up some of his squad members.

"Gilardino is among the best in the world in getting behind defences and getting on the end of balls in box, but against Spain I need strikers with other attributes," admitted Prandelli.

"Palombo is not a player of Serie B standard and Ogbonna has extraordinary talent."

The questions then turned to the situation of forward Antonio Cassano, who has been repeatedly linked with a move away from AC Milan, amid talk of not featuring in his club coach Massimiliano Allegri's long-term plans and reportedly being overweight, but Prandelli praised the Serie A champions for their management of the 28-year-old.

"I congratulate AC Milan because Antonio has already lost 3 pounds since the beginning of pre-season. I knew he had to lose weight, and he is doing it," said the coach.

"Do I advise him to leave Milan for more first-team opportunites? Absolutely not, and this goes for all of my players.

"I have said that they need to to be in the right condition to play, and playing regularly helps this, but their clubs will make these choices and I may call players who do not."

Italy play hosts to Spain on Wednesday, at San Nicola in Bari.