Balotelli returns to Italy squad

The striker was left out of Antonio Conte’s last selection, with Graziano Pelle called up instead, but he is now back in favour

Mario Balotelli has been handed a recall to the Italy squad for their Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia, less than a month after being axed by coach Antonio Conte.

The Liverpool striker’s omission in October came on the back of a poor start to the season from the 24-year-old, who has struggled to find his feet since joining the Reds from AC Milan in August.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle was selected instead of the former Inter and Manchester City star last month, but Balotelli has now been given another opportunity to impress by Conte.

Meanwhile, AC Milan forward Stephan El Sharaawy is also named in the 25-man squad after scoring his first Serie A goal since February 2013 in his side’s 2-2 draw away to Sampdoria on Saturday.

Italy squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Buffon, Sirigu, Perin.

Defenders: Chiellini, Ranocchia, Ogbonna Rugani, Moretti.

Midfielders: Darmian, De Sciglio, De Rossi, Candreva, Soriano, Verratti, Marchisio, Bertolacci, Parolo, Pasqual, Bonaventura, Cerci, El Shaarawy.

Forwards: Balotelli, Zaza, Pelle, Giovinco. 

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