After the grueling winter months of English football — Chelsea will have played 31 matches in the 16 weeks between the November and March international breaks — nothing will be better than a couple weeks of rest, recovery, and revelry. Okay, maybe not the last one.
But for some in the squad, the other two R’s aren’t going to be possible either, as they switch gears from club football to international football. And ironically, at Chelsea, like at most top teams, it’s usually those with the most minutes played who end up getting the calls from their respective nations as well. Case in point: Antonio Rüdiger and Jorginho, the second and fourth most used non-goalkeepers in the squad (Azpilicueta is first, Kanté is third).
Rüdiger’s Germany, rebuilding and looking to put the extreme disappointment of the 2018 World Cup behind them, will host Serbia in a friendly and take on Netherlands in a Euro 2020 qualifier. With 29 caps to his name, Toni’s the most experienced (and second oldest at just 26) defender named.
Italy of course didn’t even make it to the World Cup last summer, so they’re in even bigger rebuilding mode as they try to recover from that shock. Accordingly, other than a couple veterans in defense, there are a lot of fresh faces in the squad. Surprisingly, Emerson does not get the call despite eclipsing Marcos Alonso as first-choice at Chelsea. Jorginho is just one of four non-Serie-A-based players in the squad (Verratti, Piccini, Grifo the other three, the latter two of whom have a combined 3 caps), which also includes young studs Moise Kean, Nicolò Zaniolo, Nicolò Barella, and Federico Chiesa.
#Azzurri— Italy (@azzurri) March 15, 2019
Head Coach Roberto #Mancini confirms his squad for Italy's upcoming games against #Finland and #Liechtenstein #VivoAzzurro #EURO2020 #EuropeanQualifiers #ItalyFinland #ItalyLiechtenstein pic.twitter.com/l4smq2OK89
Italy will play qualifiers against Finland and Liechtenstein, both of which they should win with ease.