It’s evident that for a while now Italy hasn’t been the international powerhouse they once were. Apart from a good showing at Euro 2016 with Antonio Conte at the helm, the Azzurri have been largely underwhelming since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And speaking of the World Cup, Italy will not compete in the tournament for the first time since 1958 when it was held, ironically, in Sweden.
The Azzurri’s failure was, for the most part, due to awful management. Starting from the head of the FIGC all the way down to the dugout. Standing amidst the destruction Ventura caused, Interim Head Coach Luigi Di Biagio has looked overwhelmed. Among the candidates to replace him is current Zenit St. Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini, formerly of Inter and Man City.
Mancini has been rumored to be the next Italy coach alongside the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte. However, he’s been the least well received of the three by supporters.
Many are apprehensive due to the fact that recently his managerial work has been less than impressive. During his time at Inter from 2014-16, the highest Mancini’s side placed was 4th.
Also, his debut season at Zenit has been similarly underwhelming. Zenit are currently 5th in the Russian Premier League after spending big prior to the start of the season and were kicked out of the Europa League in the round of 16 by RB Leipzig. As a result of the open position and his poor performance at Zenit, Mancini is reportedly handing in his resignation in preparation to accept the Italy job and just the other day he arrived in Rome for talks.
Despite his recent struggles, Roberto Mancini could bring a lot to the Azzurri.
To start, Mancini’s style of play would suit Italy well. With an emphasis on staying strong defensively and building up play from the back, current players like Jorginho and Verratti would excel in this type of system.
Both midfielders are most deadly when they can control play and distribute it to their forwards, so the likes of Insigne, Belotti, etc. will have the opportunity to showcase their attacking prowess. This approach offers the Azzurri some familiarity as well since it promotes a strong defense, a philosophy tailor-made for Italy.
Additionally, Mancini has expressed his desire to coach the national team.
“I have worked at big clubs and won. It’s beautiful to coach the national team. It would be an honor, a source of pride — and winning the European Championship or World Cup even more so.”
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup many have given up on the Azzurri, and his passion can inspire the fans and the players to look forward to a bright future. With a positive mindset the players can focus on putting in a good showing in the upcoming UEFA Nations League and work towards making a bid to become Euro 2020 Champions.
One thing going against Mancini if he were to take up the job is the pressure. The former Manchester City manager would undoubtedly feel it from day one, and with the talent he’d have at his disposal, it would be justified. A manager with his experience and tactical approach should have no issue getting the best out of his players.
While he isn’t everyone’s first choice for manager Roberto Mancini could be the perfect fit for an Italy side struggling to find its identity. With his appointment looking likely the decision should be something that the Azzurri faithful can look forward to.