Cesare Prandelli: Pablo Osvaldo is the future of Italy

The striker looks set to become a regular in the squad if he continues to impress for club and country, but it's Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano who start in Serbia.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo can be an integral part of his squad in the coming years.

Prandelli called up the 25-year-old to replace injured strikers Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini who were forced to withdraw from the upcoming qualifiers against Serbia and Northern Ireland.

Osvaldo has impressed since his summer move from Espanyol, scoring three goals in five games for Roma in Serie A and the coach feels the striker has a bright future with the national team.

"Osvaldo can be our reference point for the future," Prandelli told Rai Uno. "He is the modern striker with personality, great physical strength and he has excellent technical skills."

However, Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano look set to start the Group C encounter on Friday night in Belgrade against Serbia.

"The statistics of these two speak for themselves," the coach said. "They have allowed us to gain maximum points and they can play with their eyes closed. They are a pair I can trust."