Prandelli: Rossi 'ready' for Italy audition against Nigeria

With Azzurri coach still to decide on his best strike partner for first-choice Mario Balotelli, the in-form Fiorentina man will get his chance in London
Cesare Prandelli says he is ready to hand Giuseppe Rossi the opportunity to impress for Italy against Nigeria on Monday.

Two teams which have already qualified for the World Cup will meet at Craven Cottage in one of the final chances for players to stake their claims ahead of the tournament in Brazil next summer.

The Italy boss says he is still searching for the ideal player to complement Mario Balotelli in attack, and Rossi will be handed the opportunity after missing the Germany game with a bout of tonsillitis.

“Balotelli is the first-choice center forward,” Prandelli said. “Now we have to find out who the ideal second striker will be, and Rossi is ready for this game. I have some pretty clear ideas on certain systems and combinations we can use, even if we have yet to establish which is the best one for us.”

The ex-Fiorentina boss also expressed frustration at the lack of time he has to work with players as an international coach, which means he has to try out different combinations in matches rather than on the training pitch.

Italy has suffered draws against both Haiti and Armenia this year and Prandelli believes the lack of opportunity to try out alternatives is a mitigating factor behind those disappointments.

"I perform many experiments because I have not got much time. I am not saying it is a problem that we do not have training camps, but it is a fact," he said. "It is not club coaches who are the problem but the fixture list and the directors.

"If I had more time to work on things with my squad then I would not have needed to call so many players and we would not have run into some embarrassing results.”

Prandelli also called for more excitement to be generated around the national team as the World Cup begins to draw closer.

“The truth is that right now everyone is thinking about Serie A or the Champions League,” he said. But come June they will all be huge Italy fans. I would like a little more enthusiasm around us now.”

Italy is currently on a run of three consecutive draws against Denmark, Armenia and Germany, while Nigeria is on a high after defeating Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate over two legs.