Kevin Pogorzelski Date: 30th March 2018 at 1:15am
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With the position of Italian national coach still up for grabs, Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri is not among the front runners for the role but would like to see the new man given time to build.

After leading Leicester City to a surprise Premier League triumph in 2016, the 66-year-old was among the favourites to replace Antonio Conte after Euro 2016, but was sacked by the Foxes eight months later.

“I do not feel that I am or am not in the running for the national team, but nobody has ever called me, and anyway I have a contract with Nantes,” Ranieri told Radio Anch’io Sport.

“[Whoever takes over] will have to be given time to create a new group, there are interesting young players, but they must have international experience, it is premature to judge the team right now.

“There are no champions like [Gigi] Riva, [Alessandro] Del Piero, [Francesco] Totti or [Roberto] Baggio, but let’s give the young people there are time to express themselves.

“We are in an era when you want everything and immediately, instead you need to give them time and then make judgments.”

With the ex-Chelsea coach hoping the Azzurri turn to youth to achieve success, Ranieri wants the team to be built around the talent of Marco Verratti and wants Nice striker Mario Balotelli to have a chance to prove he has changed.

“Verratti has showed good things in France,” stated Ranieri. “I see him in front of the defence, as [Zdenek] Zeman used him at Pescara. We should give him the responsibility of that role and see if he can cope with the burden.

“The young must be grown, but must also take responsibility to take the team forward.

“In France, Balotelli makes a difference, he now needs to be tested to see if the boy has matured in all respects.”