25th January, 2022
Mario Balotelli has been called up for a three-day Italy training camp and Joao Pedro is among the new faces given the nod by manager Roberto Mancini.
Balotelli has not played for his country for over three years.
But the in-form striker was named among 35 players who will assemble for a camp in Coverciano from Wednesday to Friday this week.
The enigmatic 31-year-old has scored nine goals for Adana Demirspor since joining the Turkish Super Lig side in July, including three in his past four matches.
Brazil-born duo Joao Pedro and Luiz Felipe are among seven uncapped players brought in by Mancini .
This has come two months before the European champions face North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying play-off.
Marco Carnesecchi, Giorgio Scalvini, Nicolo Fagioli, Davide Frattesi and Samuele Ricci were also called up for the first time.
The Azzurri do battle with North Macedonia in a play-off semi-final at Stadio Renzo Barbera on March 24.
If they come out on top in Palermo, Italy will then face Portugal or Turkey knowing a victory will seal their place in the tournament in Qatar this year.