Roberto Mancini dropped Moise Kean from his Euro 2020 plans as the Italy head coach trimmed his finals squad to 28 - with two more players poised to be culled. (More Football News)
Ahead of UEFA's deadline of midnight on June 1, Mancini thinned out the large pool of players he selected on May 17 for the international friendly against San Marino.
Italy won that match 7-0 on Friday, and Mancini has been assessing his squad over the last week, with a view to finding the right players for the upcoming tournament.
He settled on 21-year-old striker Kean as one who would miss out, also releasing Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, Fiorentina left-back Cristiano Biraghi, Lazio's versatile right-sided player Manuel Lazzari, Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli, Freiburg forward Vincenzo Grifo and Sassuolo frontman Giacomo Raspadori.
Kean loses his place despite scoring 19 goals in 45 games in the season just ended, including two for Everton and 17 in 41 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain, whom he joined on loan in October.
"The choice to reach 26 on the squad list is the most difficult thing for me," Mancini said on Rai 3 on Sunday.
La notizia https://t.co/RYlu0cWtkuMay 30, 2021
He said the cuts so far had caused him plenty of unease.
"And even more so for the other two I will have to exclude for the final list," Mancini said. "Everyone deserved to be there."
Mancini, who recently signed a contract keeping with the Azzurri until 2026, knows Italy may not be widely considered in the top bracket of likely champions.
"There are national teams who on paper are ahead of us, like France, Portugal, Belgium and England," said the former Inter boss. "But I believe that Italy must go and try to get to the end."
Italy will open their Group A campaign against Turkey in Rome on June 11 before facing Switzerland (June 16) and Wales (June 20).
Italy 28-man squad, to be reduced by two for Euro 2020:
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta); Nicolo Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Matteo Politano (Napoli).