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Jorginho, Zappacosta, Emerson retain places in new-look Italy

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Three Chelsea players called by the Azzurri for their opening Nations League matches

Chelsea are now on break, following yesterday’s 2-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, set to reconvene in a couple weeks to begin the season in earnest. But for many in the squad, there will be no rest as international duty calls.

Adding their names to that growing list are the trio of Davide Zappacosta, Emerson, and Jorginho, who got the call from Roberto Mancini to join the Italian national team for their UEFA Nations League matches against Poland (Sep 7) and Portugal (Sep 10).

Like most national sides not named France or England, the Azzurri are in a rebuilding phase as they look to recover from the tragedy of not even qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. There are no fewer than six new faces in the squad (Lazzari, Biraghi, Cragno, Zaniolo, Pellegri, Barella) and eight potential debutants, with Fiorentina’s Benassi and Chelsea’s Emerson still on zero caps despite previous call-ups.

While there is experience in defense with Chiellini and Bonucci sporting 176 caps between them, the rest of the 31-man squad have a combined 258, or about 8 per player, which is exactly where Jorginho stands incidentally.

The squad in full:

GOALKEEPERS: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

DEFENDERS: Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Caldara (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Emerson (Chelsea), Manuel Lazzari (SPAL), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea)

MIDFIELDERS: Nicolò Barella (Cagliari), Marco Benassi (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma)

FORWARDS: Mario Balotelli (Nice), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pietro Pellegri (Monaco), Simone Zaza (Torino)