Zaza backed for Italy recall

After scoring nine goals in 10 LaLiga games for Valencia this season, Marcelino believes Simone Zaza deserves an Italy recall.

Simone Zaza has found the net in six consecutive appearances in the league, with Lionel Messi the only player to be more prolific so far this season.   -  Getty Images

Simone Zaza deserves a place in Italy's squad for its World Cup play-off against Sweden, according to Valencia coach Marcelino.

Zaza has struck nine goals in 10 LaLiga matches to help unbeaten Valencia sit second in the table, ahead of champion Real Madrid but four points behind leader Barcelona.

The 26-year-old has found the net in six consecutive appearances in the league, with Lionel Messi the only player to be more prolific so far this season.

Zaza, remembered for a bizarre stuttering run-up that preceded a crucial penalty miss in Italy's Euro 2016 quarterfinal defeat to Germany, has not featured for his country for a year.

But Marcelino believes the rejuvenated striker, who flopped in the Premier League with West Ham last season, should be a part of Gian Piero Ventura's squad to face Sweden.

"Simo is playing at a very high level, he's second behind [Lionel] Messi in the scoring charts," Marcelino told Gazzetta dello Sport. "He's a worker, a steadfast and ambitious lad.

"We're very happy with his performance - and we hope he'll be called for the play-offs with Sweden, because I think he really deserves it. He's done more than enough to go to the national team."

The Azzurri travel to the Friends Arena for the first leg of the tie on November 10 before hosting Sweden in the return match three days later at Milan's San Siro.

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