ROME (Reuters) - Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi has 10 days to prove he is fit and ready for action in the World Cup in Brazil, national manager Cesare Prandelli said on Tuesday.
The Fiorentina player has had a series of problems with his right knee since his time with Villarreal in 2011 and missed much of the second half of this season with injury.
However, after selecting him in his provisional 30-man squad Prandelli said he will give Rossi every chance to recover before finalizing his squad for the World Cup which starts next month.
“I decided to bring Giuseppe Rossi for a number of reasons,” Prandelli told reporters on Tuesday.
“We have a great player with an extraordinary talent in front of us. One of the most important players in Italy.”
“It’s obvious that there needs to be a response on the pitch, and I hope that over the next 10 days we get that, but even if it isn’t like that he has already won with what he’s done,” Prandelli added.
“I don’t want to make him nervous. He’s one of the 30 and we need to see if he’s in the condition to play, that his condition is better than a few days ago.”
Rossi was Serie A’s leading scorer with 14 goals when he was ruled out for five months in early January. Since his return to league action in early May he scored two in three appearances.
“His determination, his desire to make all the sacrifices to be here is a demonstration that even the great players have to put in effort,” said Prandelli.
“This is a good lesson for the whole group.”
Rossi’s call up is seen as a risk given the wealth of in-form and fit Italian strikers Prandelli has at his disposal.
Many in Italy believe that rejuvenated Parma playmaker Antonio Cassano will miss out should Prandelli pick Rossi.
The 31-year-old has been in his best form for years and has played a key part in Parma qualifying for next season’s Europa League. He has also cut out the outbursts that marked much of his career and had him tagged the bad boy of Italian soccer.
“It’s only been two hours of training, and it’s like the first day of school with everyone wanting to impress me, but Cassano looks happy to me,” added the coach.
“I think he realizes that this is his last chance to do something really big in his career.”
Prandelli also said that he wants his side to be as tactically flexible as they were in last year’s Confederations Cup, where they lost to world champions Spain in a semi-final penalty shoot-out.
Italy face differing challenges in a tough group, beginning with a clash against England in Manaus before playing Costa Rica and then Uruguay.
”The idea is for players to have more than one way of interpreting a system,“ Prandelli said. ”We won’t have a rigid system, it will change.
”I want to prepare the team to changes during the match, just like we did in the Confederations Cup.
“The players need to be a resource for us. They have to all be aware that you only need a few minutes to make your mark. If we start with that mentality then we’ll be on the right track.”
Reporting by Terry Daley; editing by Martyn Herman