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Chelsea's Emerson urged to return to Serie A and fight for Italy place by Mancini

15:47 GMT 22/03/2020
Emerson Palmieri, Chelsea
The Azzurri coach says the Blues' full-back hasn't seen enough game time in the Premier League, and should return to Italy

Italy manager Roberto Mancini says he would like to see Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri return to Serie A as he considers his selection for the delayed European Championship.

Emerson left Roma for Stamford Bridge in 2018, and has been in and out of the Blues’ side ever since.

After Euro 2020 was pushed back until the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis, players will have more time to work their way into Mancini’s thoughts – but Emerson isn’t the only defender in the mix.

“As for the full-backs, we knew Adam Masina, although he disappeared from the radar a bit after his move to Watford,” Mancini told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Luca Pellegrini already spent time with the senior squad and can improve.

“It would be nice if Emerson Palmieri, who hasn’t played much for Chelsea, could come and play in Italy.”

Mancini knows football is not the priority right now. He has lost friends during the Covid-19 outbreak, and described seeing a military convoy transporting coffins out of Bergamo as “like a punch in the face”.

However, he remains optimistic about the ability of football to bring joy back to the people once it is safe to play.

“I expect a European Championship of a very high level, of great quality. We will try to win a top tournament,” he said.

“I can’t wait to stand in front of the bench and listen to the national anthem play out. After everything the country is going through, it’s going to be an immense sensation.”

Italy have a number of young players vying for places in their tournament squad, all of whom will have another year to develop – though it remains to be seen how much football will be played before the Euros.

Roma’s young star Nicolo Zaniolo’s participation in the tournament was in doubt after suffering a cruciate ligament rupture, but he now has time to recover his fitness.

“Clearly, recovering a player with unique characteristics like Zaniolo is important and the many young players we have already in the squad will be more experienced next summer,” Mancini added.

“If the likes of Federico Chiesa were to move to a bigger club and play international club football, that could also speed up the maturation process.

“As I told his father, Federico has to play with the utmost enthusiasm. Others like Domenico Berardi ought to be a star already with his capabilities, but he’s still 25 and can grow a great deal in future.”