Mario Balotelli will be an integral part of Italy's European Championship squad in Poland and Ukraine in June, national team coach Cesare Prandelli said today. The temperamental Manchester City forward's participation had been called into question following his latest indiscretion, when he received a three-match ban for being sent off against Arsenal.
Prandelli originally said he would look into the incident, sparking rumours he would leave Balotelli out due to the 21-year-old's disciplinary problems. But now the Italy coach insists he cannot do without the enigmatic star.
"I liked the fact he took responsability and what he said after the recent event with City," Prandelli said. "I like people who face up to things. I never thought of leaving him out, he's a fixed part of the national team."
Another player who Prandelli is keen to take with him in June is AC Milan's Antonio Cassano, who still needs to prove his fitness following his recent return to action after heart surgery. "We can get him back," said Prandelli. "His enthusiasm is contagious and I need him."