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 By Ben Gladwell

Giulio Maggiore turns down Under-20 World Cup place to sit exams

The Italian national football team shirt for the UEFA Euro 2016 European football championships.
Italy's under-20 side will be without Giulio Maggiore at the World Cup in South Korea.

A young midfielder at Italy's Serie B club Spezia has turned down the chance to represent his country at the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea because he has exams to sit.

Giulio Maggiore, 18, would have been part of the Italy squad departing for Seoul on Tuesday, but with the prospect of over three weeks away from home, he has turned down the opportunity in order to focus on finishing school.

"It's been a struggle balancing both [football and school]," he said in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Between March and Easter I was away with the under-19s and then I was always in training with Spezia."

His school have shown understanding and always given him leave when requested, but he insists his education comes first, which is why he has turned down an opportunity to represent his country in a major tournament.

"I still have a few grades I need to improve and going to the World Cup would have meant throwing the whole year away," he said. "When you are in a training camp, you can't find the right concentration to be able to study.

"I spoke with [Italy coach Alberigo] Evani and he understood and wished me all the best. My mother [who is also a teacher] is the most delighted of everybody, but nobody forced me to make this decision. I want to apply for a place at university, but there is time for that. My priorities now are passing my exams and then the playoffs [with Spezia]."

Spezia are currently eighth in Serie B with one game of the season left to play. Should they remain inside the top eight, they would enter into the postseason playoffs for promotion to Serie A.

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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