Stephan El Shaarawy out of Italy XI
Stephan El Shaarawy has been left out of the Italy side to face Bulgaria on Friday night -- a week after being snubbed by AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.
El Shaarawy, 20, was left out of the Milan team that saw off Cagliari 3-1 on Sunday, with Allegri preferring Mario Balotelli and Robinho to lead his attack.
And Cesare Prandelli has now also omitted the striker from the Italy starting line-up for what could be a decisive World Cup qualifier in Palermo.
“Here, we are facing a team that doesn’t allow you any depth -- we simply need different players. Psychologically, El Shaarawy is fine even though he does tend to keep things to himself,” Prandelli said.
"There are some precise choices -- Giorgio [Chiellini] wasn’t playing either at the start because there were other players who were providing different qualities, and he always waited and kept improving, very professionally.”
Despite the double disappointment, as well as the arrival of Kaka to provide further competition at Milan, El Shaarawy has vowed to knuckle down and fight for his place.
“There will be competition for sure, but also space for everyone. Kaka’s arrival is a dream come true -- with him, Milan are truly on a par with the other top teams, and he is my idol! Besides, I made a choice -- I am convinced I will stay in Milan irrespective of how things go. Mine is a very precise choice," he said.
Manchester City, however, will be one club following the developments. The Premier League side were linked with a move for El Shaarawy in the summer, and may firm up their interest should he see his opportunities limited in Milan this season.