Italy to wait on Verratti injury

Luigi Di Biagio confirmed Marco Verratti's withdrawal against Argentina was enforced, making him a doubt for Italy's game with England.

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti   -  Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti will be assessed after picking up an injury during Italy's 2-0 friendly defeat against Argentina in Manchester.

Verratti impressed during the Azzurri's first game under interim boss Luigi Di Biagio but limped out of the action after 72 minutes to be replaced by Bryan Cristante.

Italy had looked the most likely winners after half-time but their poise deserted them in the 25-year-old's absence, with Ever Banega breaking the deadlock 15 minutes from time and Manuel Lanzini blasting into the roof of the net to make sure of the win.

Di Biagio did not confirm the nature of the injury sustained by Verratti, who has a history of groin issues, but his participation in Tuesday's match against England at Wembley is now in doubt.

"We will evaluate the condition of Verratti tomorrow and will find out what the damage was," he said.

"In terms of the result, it was a harsh result. Late in the second half I was actually hoping to win.

"I saw the disappointment in the eyes of the team because we had hopes to win but we must start again."

Di Biagio or whoever takes the Italy post on a permanent basis – Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini have been touted – must undertake a rebuilding job in the aftermath of last November's humiliating failure to qualify for the World Cup.

"We mustn't change our attitude, we must continue the way we are and realise this is a difficult moment for the team," said the former Roma midfielder, who was keen to underline the extent of the task at hand.

"We'll ask everyone to be patient and never to forget that we have a young team there. We've got young players with perhaps two or three international games under their belt," he added.

"Clearly Argentina has a better quality team. We cannot simply focus on comparison with a team who were the runners-up at the last World Cup.

"We must really play the long game with this team. We must have patience with this team and remember [Federico] Chiesa was born in 1997 and [Patrick] Cutrone was born in 1998.

"At the moment we are growing our new players. I would have said the same thing had we equalised or won. We need to play the long game."

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