Italy boss on Balotelli: Man matters most, then the footballer

Terry Balotelli England Italy

Italy coach Antonio Conte has commented on Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli's chances of making it into his national team.

Mario Balotelli will have to fight his way back into the Italian national set-up and new coach Antonio Conte has insisted the striker's human qualities rather than playing skills will be key.

Super Mario was the figurehead of Italy's dismal World Cup campaign after which coach Cesare Prandelli resigned.

Ex-Juventus boss Conte was chosen as his replacement, beating Roberto Mancini to the role - a decision which could have a significant effect on Balotelli.

It has been suggested by Italian pundits that while Mancini would've given Balotelli the benefit of the doubt, Conte isn't so inclined.

With Balotelli suspended, Conte's first Italy squad delivered with Simone Zaza and Ciro Immobile leading the line.

"In all my squads the first contact is with the person and then with the player," Conte said on Rai Sport.

"For my Juventus team the human side was also brought out. In times of difficulty the man is shown not the champion.

"I choose players without prejudice and let what happens on the pitch do the talking." 

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch