FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is hopeful of taking Giuseppe Rossi to the World Cup in Brazil but is wary of putting pressure on the young forward as he recovers from injury.
Rossi was Serie A's top scorer until he re-injured his problematic right knee in January and has only recently begun training again, but the U.S.-born striker was involved in World Cup fitness tests on Monday and Tuesday.
"I can't say anything. The tests have to be evaluated," Prandelli said at a press conference at the end of the two-day camp. "What's important regarding Giuseppe Rossi is not to put pressure on him, he has to recover psychologically as well as physically.
"It's not right to say whether I am pessimistic or optimistic. We have to wait for improvements, to see him on the pitch and then we'll see. I can't say anything else. He's a talent and we want him ready and in the starting 11. But he had a serious injury. We have to wait for a physical and psychological recovery, we are all his fans."
Antonio Cassano was among the group of 42 called up by Prandelli after scoring 11 goals in a fantastic season for Parma.
Cassano has not played for Italy since helping the Azzurri to a runner-up finish at the 2012 European Championship but now is reportedly among the 18 players Prandelli is already certain will be in his final 23-man squad.
Veteran forwards Francesco Totti, Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale were left out despite impressive seasons.