International news: Roberto Mancini admits he would love to be offered Italy job
Last Updated: 31/07/14 3:55pm
Roberto Mancini admits he would "come running" if he was offered the chance to coach Italy's national team.
The 49-year-old has been out of work since leaving Galatasaray in June and remains among the leading candidates to replace Cesare Prandelli, who stepped down after Italy's surprise first-round exit from the World Cup.
Massimiliano Allegri has since dropped out of contention by accepting the Juventus job, yet the man whose position he filled, Antonio Conte, is considered a very strong rival to Mancini for the top head coach's role available in Italy.
And while Mancini is not worried about his competition for the Azzurri post, he is still waiting for the phone to ring.
He told Il Giorno: "It makes me very happy and proud to be in the thoughts of those who love the national team.
"I've always been patriotic, I never forget about Italy even when I've been working abroad.
"Who doesn't dream about coaching their national team? I'd come running.
"The reality, however, is that for now, no one has called me."
If he were to assume control of Italy, Mancini would retain the services of veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo.
Both men were World Cup winners in 2006 but endured a disappointing campaign in Brazil and could be tempted to retire from international football before the 2016 European Championships.
"Even if they are thirtysomethings, I would certainly still call on Pirlo and Buffon, because having world-class players is essential if you are going to win things," Mancini added.
Mancini had a fractious relationship with Mario Balotelli while the pair were working at Manchester City together and the former Inter Milan boss has warned the striker to "wake up" and start focusing on realising his undeniable talent.
"He's young, but time passes for everyone and does not wait for anyone, so he needs to wake up," Mancini added.
"We are talking about the same player who dragged Italy through the Euros two years ago.
"The World Cup went wrong and so there is a tendency to blame the players when things are not going well.
"Mario must understand, however, that his job is one that you dream about doing as a child and one for which you are paid handsomely.
"He has to do only one thing: respect the coach and help his team-mates to win."