Italy’s lineup for N. Ireland

Nicolò Barella and Federico Chiesa are a number of the doubts to start out for Italy against Northern Ireland in tomorrow’s opening 2022 World Cup qualifier.

It kicks off on Thursday at 19.45 GMT at the Stadio Tardini in Parma.

Inter players Nicolò Barella, Stefano Sensi and Alessandro Bastoni only arrived today, as they were within the Inter ‘bubble’ following a COVID outbreak at the club.

Of the three, only Barella would be expected to start out anyway, but he could be rested before subsequent games against Bulgaria on Sunday and Lithuania next Wednesday.

RAI Sport suggest Barella is sure to be picked nonetheless in a midfield with Marco Verratti and Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli, although other alternatives include Lorenzo Pellegrini and Sensi.

These are all 2022 World Cup qualifiers and therefore the Azzurri want to take care of the momentum that they had throughout 2020.

Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne seem locked in upfront.

Federico Chiesa is another player who might be dropped in favour of Domenico Berardi on the right, preserving the Juventus man for the other tougher fixtures.

It is going to in particular be a physical battle, so Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are the favourites to take the central defensive roles.

Moise Kean, Bryan Cristante and Jorginho are all out of the Italy squad.

Italy (probable): G Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Locatelli, Verratti, Barella; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne

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