Ventura won’t rule out Balotelli call-up

Giampiero Ventura says Mario Balotelli’s quality is not in question as he ponders recalling the talented Nice striker into his Italy squad.

The 26-year-old former Liverpool and AC Milan front man has not played for his national side since the 2014 World Cup,

After a difficult few seasons where he failed to match his potential with performances, the talented forward rediscovered his form upon moving to Ligue 1 this year.

He has scored 10 goals in 13 matches, in all competitions this season.

That figure may have been more but for a calf injury that kept Balotelli sidelined for a month – but he responded with three goals in four games upon his return.

When asked about Balotelli, Ventura explained: "Will I talk with Balotelli? Absolutely, yes.

"As to whether he'll be called up, right now I don't know. His qualities are not up for discussion, but there are other things that can be questioned and now we have to see where we can go.

"The strength of a team is to have everyone pulling in the same direction, everyone has to be on board.

"That goes for every player, not just Balotelli. The talk that I'll have with him won't be decisive in whether or not he's called up."

Italy are next in action in a World Cup qualifier with Albania in March.