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UEFA Nations League: Sottil shocked as Mancini shuns Udogie


Udinese manager Andrea Sottil  is surprised Italian defender of Nigerian descent Destiny Udogie is not in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad for their UEFA Nations League fixtures.

Mancini had invited 29 players for the clashes against England and Hungary, but snubbed left-back Udogie, picking Federico Dimarco (Inter Milan) and Emerson Palmieri(West Ham)instead.

“These decisions surprised me. I respect Roberto Mancini’s choices, but I was still surprised. I think Udogie is one of the best full-backs in the league, he proves that all the time,” Sottil told Football Italia.

The 19-year-old played 79 minutes for Udinese on Sunday in their 3-1 home win against Inter Milan, a result which took the club to third place in Serie A.

On the back of his breakthrough season in 2021/22, Tottenham snapped up Udogie in the summer for an initial £15.5m plus £6m in add-ons before sending the youngster back to Udinese on a season-long loan.

An Italy U-21 international, Udogie made his debut for the Gli Azzurrini in September last year, in a European Championship qualifying fixture against Luxembourg. He has four caps at youth level to his name till date but is still eligible to represent Nigeria, the country of his father, following the latest snub by Mancini.

Udogie had in the past confessed that he feels more Italian and will love to play for the country at the expense of the Super Eagles on the international stage.

When asked where his international future lies between Nigeria and Italy, Udogie had then told Carlo Garganese and Nima Tavalley on The Italian Football Podcast: “I was born in Italy, so I feel more Italian. I grew up playing with the young players in Italy, so I want to continue with Italy.

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“I hope to reach the first team and play as many matches as possible.” He retained hope of breaking into the Azzuris team adding

“Of course, it is my ambition to make it to the senior team,” Udogie responded when asked if his age will hinder his target to play for Italy. “I just have to do my best in every game so I can show him [Roberto Mancini] my qualities and it is a big ambition I hope to be able to reach.”

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar and will be observing the Mundial billed for November/December from a distance just like Nigeria that also failed to qualify after crashing out of the two legged playoffs against Ghana.

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