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Maggio to be called in to Italy squad for Albania friendly

Christian Maggio is one of 14 players that Antonio Conte will bring in to face Albania on Tuesday.

Claudio Villa

Antonio Conte has been making some interesting decisions since taking over as Italy's manager this summer, and he's made another one this weekend. Instead of keeping the same squad for Tuesday's friendly against Albania, he's going to change things up fairly heavily once Italy have played Croatia tomorrow.

Fourteen players will be called in to the national team ahead of the Albania match, with Conte bringing in a bunch of new faces to experiment with the talent pool at his disposal. One of those new players will be Napoli defender Christian Maggio, who has not yet played for Conte.

Maggio was called up in September, but only sat on the bench against the Netherlands. He last played a match for Italy in March in a friendly against Spain, when he started the match and came off at halftime. The defender was part of the preliminary World Cup roster, but unlike Lorenzo Insigne, he did not make the final cut of the roster. Maggio hasn't played particularly well this season, but his form has been improving of late and it's not like Italy are swimming in quality right-sided defenders these days.

Other notable names on the incoming list include Zenit defender Domenico Criscito, who had a public fallout with former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, as well as newcomers Stefano Okaka (Sampdoria), Francesco Acerbi (Sassuolo), and Stefano Sturaro (Genoa). How Conte utilizes this highly experimental squad will be interesting to see, and could help him find some gems that Italy have yet to have much experience yet.