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Italy recalls Locatelli but Bonucci misses out in Spalletti’s first squad

Italy has recalled midfielder Manuel Locatelli but there is no place for experienced defender Leonardo Bonucci as manager Luciano Spalletti on Friday named 29 players in his first squad for its next European Championship qualifiers.

Centre-back Bonucci, who recently joined Union Berlin, did not make the cut despite being Italy’s most recent captain.

The 25-year-old Locatelli played an instrumental role in Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph but had not been called up since 2022 by previous manager Roberto Mancini.

He will be joined by other long-term absentees, Mattia Zaccagni of Lazio and AS Roma’s Gianluca Mancini, while Lazio defender Nicolo Casale received his first call-up.

Spalletti’s debut in charge will be Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifier in North Macedonia on September 9 before the Azzurri host Ukraine three days later.

Spalletti, 64, led Napoli last season to their first Serie A title in 33 years and took over the national team after Mancini resigned last month.

Italy is third in Group C on three points from two matches, trailing leaders England who has 12 from four and Ukraine on six points from three matches.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG), Alex Meret (Napoli), Ivan Provedel (Lazio), Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham Hotspur)

Defenders: Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Nicolo Casale (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Inter), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Gianluca Mancini (AS Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (Lazio), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma)

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