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Spalletti recalls Kean to face Malta and England

Juventus forward Moise Kean. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Juventus striker Moise Kean was on Friday recalled to the Italy squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England, as coach Luciano Spalletti reshuffled his attack. 

Kean, 23, won the last of his 12 caps in October 2021. He benefits from the absence of injured Lazio veteran Ciro Immobile.

The former Napoli coach has also given a first call-up to 20-year-old defender Destiny Udogie who has been prominent in Tottenham’s strong start to the English season. Uncapped Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario is also in the squad. 

Also returning after a long absence is midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura who won the last of his 15 caps in October 2020 but whose club, Fiorentina, has also made a fine start to the season. 

Spalletti has dispensed with winger Matteo Politano of Napoli and striker Mateo Retegui of Genoa, who were part of the new coach’s first squad in September. 

The coach has also decided not to recall veteran midfielder Marco Verratti who moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Al-Arabi in Qatar in September and was not part of the coach’s first Italy squad.

After missing out on last year’s World Cup, reigning European champions Italy made a poor start to their Euro qualifying campaign under Roberto Mancini, losing at home to England in March.

Following two wins and a draw, away to North Macedonia, they have moved up to second in Group C, six points behind leaders England and ahead of Ukraine and North Macedonia on goal difference.

Italy face Malta, who have lost all five of their group matches, in Bari on October 14, before travelling to Wembley three days later to face England, in a rematch of the last Euro final which Italy won on penalties in the same stadium.

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