West Ham’s Ogbonna ‘astonished and bitter’ after Mancini snubbed Italy’s center-back
The Hammers defender felt he deserved to make Euro 2020 with the Azzurri after an impressive 2020-21 campaign at London Stadium
West Ham star Angelo Ogbonna admitted he remained “astonished and bitter” after being snubbed for the Italian European Championship squad by Roberto Mancini.
Ogbonna has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most consistent defenders since joining West Ham from Juventus in 2015.
The 33-year-old arguably had his best season yet in 2020-21 helping the Hammers to a top-six spot, but still missed a spot in Mancini’s preliminary roster of 33 for the Euro 2020.
What was said?
Ogbonna’s frustration with his omission was magnified after seeing Chelsea duo Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri added to the Italy squad on Sunday.
“We fought to the end for the qualification in the Champions League with Jorginho and Chelsea de Palmieri, who finished higher, but we showed that we can beat any team.”
Ogbonna added: “In sport, meritocracy must prevail, based on the championship in which you play, on the statistics, on the value of the player.
“And this time, in my opinion, it did not prevail.”
Ogbonna’s praise for Jorginho
Ogbonna, however, praised Jorginho for his achievements at Chelsea this season, after seeing his international colleague become a Champions League winner.
The ex-Juve executor believes the midfielder’s presence will be crucial for Italy as they pursue their first international title since the 2006 World Cup.
“He was always underestimated, maybe because of his stature, but he always made a difference and with [Maurizio] Sarri, he has evolved, he has also become the pivot of Chelsea, ”said Ogbonna.
“The Premier League has changed skin thanks to the many foreign coaches: it is more tactical, more studied. And in this Jorginho has changed many scenarios.
“For the national team, he is fundamental, for his personality and for his ability to read the timing of the match, especially when the rhythms rise.”
Who was excluded from the Italy team?
Mancini has reduced his preliminary group to 28, but will have to drop two other players on Tuesday – marking the deadline for the team’s final submissions.
Everton forward Moise Kean, who won a successful loan from Paris Saint-Germain last season, was sent home despite a 7-0 friendly win over San Marino on Friday, alongside midfielder from Lazio Manuel Lazzari.
Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, Fiorentina duo Cristiano Biraghi and Gaetano Castrovilli, Vincenzo Grifo from Frieburg and Sassuolo star Giacomo Raspadori were also sacrificed after initially making the 33 preliminaries.