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 By Ben Gladwell

Chelsea's Antonio Conte out of race to be Italy coach - Costacurta

Ahead of Chelsea's clash with Watford, Stewart Robson and Alison Bender discuss the future of under fire boss Antonio Conte.

Alessandro Costacurta has said Antonio Conte has ruled himself out of becoming Italy's next coach by declaring his intention to see out his Chelsea contract.

Conte said at the weekend that he has no interest in leaving the Premier League champions amid speculation he is being lined up for a return to the Italy job following the dismissal of Gian Piero Ventura.

And Costacurta, acting sub-commissioner of the Italian FA (FIGC), told Sky Sport Italia: "The availability on the market is going to be a fundamental aspect in the choice of the future Italy coach.

"Conte, for example, has ruled himself out of the running for the national team job because he has said he wants to be a club coach for the next 18 months.

"Even [Roberto] Mancini is contracted to a club, so it's not as easy as it might seem to get them. While it's true we've got hugely talented coaches, we still need to see who is available."

The FIGC confirmed on Monday morning that under-21s coach Luigi Di Biagio will take charge of Italy's friendlies against Argentina and England next month, and the former Roma and Inter Milan midfielder is also expected to be on the bench for the clash with France in Nice on June 1.

Costacurta said: "I think it will be June [when a new coach is announced], barring anything extraordinary happening before then.

"Now we've got two friendlies to play and we'll do those with Gigi, and he could find some continuity after these two games.

"I've been following him for years and I've always liked him, and I think he did a great job at the under-21 European Championship.

"He's got to be included in the list of candidates for the national team job."

Costacurta said that whoever is chosen, Conte, who led Italy to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, will be the role model.

"We don't want to be a side who waits in their own half for their opponents," he added.

"I believe that the national team must go and play at the most difficult of places, giving the impression of being an aggressive and determined side who don't play the way they did in the final five or six games of Ventura's reign -- with fear and passiveness.

"We want the substance of this national team to return to being the attitude and the personality they had under Conte."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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