ROME (Reuters) - Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi are Italy’s ideal attacking combination, according to manager Cesare Prandelli who said he was sad that illness prevented him using the pair together in the friendly against Germany on Friday.
“Those two together are exactly the attackers I would like, and that’s why it’s a shame I can’t try them out against the Germans,” Prandelli told RAI Sport ahead of the match in Milan (1945 GMT).
Rossi, who has scored 11 league goals for Fiorentina in a blistering start to the season, is out because of influenza and tonsillitis, and his place will be taken by Southampton striker Pablo Osvaldo.
Rossi’s form has been particularly impressive given that he returned to action this season after knee injuries kept him out of the game for almost two years.
“In my mind Balotelli is a centre-forward, while Rossi is someone who can play behind him, but there’s no reason why they can’t switch positions. However I need to see how they adapt to each other’s play on the pitch,” Prandelli said.
“They’re the type of striker that is in vogue in modern football: they don’t offer the opposition any points of reference.”
The talented Balotelli has been below par and suspended twice in a poor opening 12 games for AC Milan, scoring only three Serie A goals for his side, who are in 10th place.
His behavior on and off the field has come under intense media scrutiny and he has frequently reacted badly to the attention, lashing out at a cameraman as the Italy team arrived in Naples ahead of their 2-2 draw with Armenia last month.
Editing by Clare Fallon