Italy coach Marcello Lippi has praised Sampdoria's great start to the campaign but says Antonio Cassano will have to play the waiting game before finding out if he is to be included in his 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad.
Samp beat Inter Milan 1-0 on Saturday to climb to the top of the Serie A standings, one point clear of Juventus. "Sampdoria has started well," said Lippi. "They have important players and a good coach in Luigi Del Neri. Samp was a team that was improving and I am happy that they are first in the standings as I played at Sampdoria for 20 years."
One of the main reasons why Sampdoria have won all but one of their six encounters this campaign has been the impressive form of Cassano. While he hasn't been scoring goals, he has created countless opportunities for his team-mates to find the back of the net.
When asked if Cassano will return to the national team, Lippi added: "Every player dreams of playing for the national team and so does he. But everyone must wait until June for my final call-up."
Local media and Azzurri fans have called for Lippi to get Cassano back in the national side. The player was in Roberto Donadoni's UEFA EURO 2008 squad but ever since Lippi returned to guide the nationa team, the playmaker has not featured for Italy. Cassano does have a reputation for causing trouble on and off the pitch but has seemed to mature in his two seasons at Sampdoria.
The world champions need just one point at Ireland in the qualifier on 10 October to assure themselves a place in next year's top tournament in South Africa.