MILAN (Reuters) – Italy forward Mario Balotelli has said that he cannot not wait for Euro 2016, prompting coach Antonio Conte to ask sarcastically the maverick striker would be playing or watching on television.
Balotelli reacted enthusiastically to Italy’s draw against Belgium, Ireland and Sweden, posting their names on Instagram along with the words “I can’t wait.”
In reply, Conte said: “(He) can’t wait for what…..to play in the European championship or to watch on television?”
Balotelli, plagued by fitness and form problems, has been picked only once since Conte took over following Italy’s group stage exit at the World Cup.
“It’s up to him to show he can be included, just as it is with the others,” Conte told Italian reporters. “But he has got so, so much to prove.”
“I haven’t drawn any conclusions so far. I will watch everyone carefully, but I also know who has got us this far, and I know the players.
“Anyone who wants to come in has got to show me an awful lot.”
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)