£16m Liverpool newbie Mario Balotelli gets international snub

Cole and Balotelli England Italy

The summer signing from AC Milan has been left out of Antonio Conte's first Italy squad.

Today we are likely to see Mario Balotelli back in action for Liverpool as the Italian international looks set for a debut appearance against Tottenham Hotspur. The £16 million gamble from AC Milan has trained all week without problems and is now set to take on the impressive Tottenham side at White Hart Lane - with the small responsibility of replacing a certain Luis Suarez.

But while he can look forward to his debut this afternoon he can also plan a holiday for after, because he will not be playing football during the international break. Balotelli, who scored against England at the World Cup this summer, has been dropped by new Italy coach Antonio Conte for the upcoming friendly with the Netherlands and subsequent Euro 2016 qualifier with Norway.

The former Juventus boss, who replaced Cesare Prandelli at the Azzurri after a woeful World Cup, has decided against taking Balotelli with the squad as he is suspended for the Norway fixture. Regardless of the suspension it is believed Conte is concerned about the player's reputation and that a move to England is not what he needs. He said to the media recently:

“I do know that whoever joins the national team must then deserve to stay there. The man is more important than the footballer. Talent is secondary. First you’ve got to sacrifice yourself for the squad.”

Conte has instead decided to take Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia Destro, Pablo Osvaldo, Ciro Immobile and has called up Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza for his debut.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch