The League of Nations, in which Italy will also face the European champion Portugal in Group 3, will have an impact on planting for the Euro 2020. And the 53-year-old coach has insisted that one of the keys to his strategy was to bring new blood after the departure of several veterans, including the iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, after the defeat in the tiebreak of the World Cup against Italy Italy last November.
The departure of Buffon has opened the way for the goalkeeper of AC Milan, Gianluigi Donnarumma, 19 years old.
"We are a large group, very young," said Donnarumma at the team's Coverciano training center near Florence.
"We are determined to return Italian football where it deserves to be, it is our duty." Italy has plummeted to a record low of 21 in the FIFA standings. They were eliminated in the group stage in the World Cups of 2010 and 2014, although they fared better in the European Championship, reaching the final in 2012 and the quarterfinals in 2016.
But Mancini said he wanted to "try something different" and focus on youth, with four players who are not down, including Nicolo Zaniolo of Rome, who is 19 years old and has yet to start in a Serie A game.
"When I watched TV and saw my name among the players called, I felt overwhelmed, I did not expect it, I called my father and he started crying," said Zaniolo, whose father Igor played in several Italian clubs, including Genoa.
"I will work with humility, commitment and looking for the best and trying to steal some of their secrets."
– & # 39; Strong message & # 39; –
The Italian Under-21 team reached the semifinals of the 2017 UEFA U-21 Championship, while under-20s finished third at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.
Mancini summoned the coaches of the Serie A teams to give younger players more playing time to take advantage of their potential.
"We are trying to send a strong message from Coverciano, we are convinced that those who play well at the youth level can do it even at a higher level," said Mancini.
"At this historic moment there are not many Italian players playing consistently, so we have included many young players to increase the number of players so we can get to know them better."
One of Mancini's first decisions about being named last May was also to remember the controversial striker Mario Balotelli for the first time since the 2014 World Cup.
The Nice striker scored in his first match, a 2-1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia, but Mancini's next two friendlies were a 3-1 loss to the winners of the World Cup, France, and a 1-1 draw 1 with Holland.
In addition to Balotelli, 28, Italy's attacking options also include Lazio forward Ciro Immobile, 28, Federico Chiesa, Fiorentina, 20, and Federico Bernardeschi, 24, of Juventus.
To anchor the younger players, veteran Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, 34, returns to the squad for the first time since the Italian World Cup playoff loss.
"Chiellini is back and he is a captain, he is a point of reference and an experience, especially for young people," said Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
"Italy does not deserve to stay where we are now, we are all motivated to do well and win again, there is enthusiasm and we feel good together."
"I can guarantee you that this national team is not that far from being the best."
Poland also has something to prove after being eliminated in the group stage in the World Cup without star striker Robert Lewandowski scoring once. He and Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik are expected to play.
After Poland, Italy plays against Portugal, minus Cristiano Ronaldo, in Lisbon on September 10.