Chiellini not used to Pirlo, Buffon absence

Giorgio Chiellini admits that it will be strange lining up for Italy without Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo in the squad against France on Wednesday.

Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Italy

By staff

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has opted for a younger side to face France in a friendly match, calling up the likes of Marco Verratti, Stephan El Shaarawy Antonio Candreva and Salvatore Sirigu, leaving out veterans Pirlo and Buffon.

Chiellini, who is one of the veterans who remained in the side, has backed the younger talents to shine, although he admits that it will be strange to play without Italy's mainstays for the past decade.

"Without Buffon and Pirlo we are losing two reference points, both for Juventus and the national team," Chiellini told reporters.

"It'll be weird without them, but tomorrow can be a great stage to test young talents like Sirigu, Verratti and El Shaarawy.

"We need to find a good result. We have improved a great deal, but still need that step up in quality."

Chiellini faces one of his former coaches in Didier Deschamps, and had only positive words to say about the France coach.

"Deschamps was an important coach during my growth process and I will salute him with affection before the game," he said.

"He put me in central defence during a rather unusual season in Serie B and I am happy he has achieved the dream of every coach - to be in charge of his own country."

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