Ireland's participation at the 2013 Uefa Under-19 European Championship is under threat as the Italians lead the way. Ryan Kelly profiles the Azzurrini
By Ryan Kelly
Italy currently sit top of Group 7; unbeaten in five games and six points ahead of Ireland. Coach Ciro Ferrara is a well-respected figure in Italian football. A former Napoli and Juventus defensive stalwart, Ferrara had a spell managing Juventus in 2009 before taking the job as manager of the U21s with his assistant Angelo Peruzzi.
Despite his history as a defender, and his team's excellent defensive record, Ferrara is notably offensive in his tactical outlook, playing a 4-3-3 formation, and as such we've singled out several attacking threats to the Young Boys' in Green hopes of qualification when the sides meet on Bank Holiday Monday at Sligo's Showgrounds.
|LORENZO INSIGNE - NAPOLI
He was in prolific form for the Delphini last season and made his debut for Italy's under-21s in October 2011, scoring a brace against Liechtenstein.
|MANOLO GABBIADINI - ATALANTA
His remarkable goal-scoring prowess will be a source of concern for Noel King.
|STEPHAN EL-SHAARAWY - AC MILAN
He has represented Italy at various levels and brings a wealth of senior experience and technique to the squad.
|DAVIDE SANTON - NEWCASTLE UNITED
However, the 20-year-old has struggled since and moved to the Premier League last summer.
|CIRO IMMOBILE - JUVENTUS
He is only a recent call-up, scoring his first goal for the Azzurrini in a friendly against Scotland in April 2012.