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Serie B keeper Alex Meret earns shock Italy call

 Italy goalkeeper Alex Meret
Italy goalkeeper Alex Meret

Serie B goalkeeper Alex Meret is the surprise inclusion in the Italy squad to face Albania and Holland.

The 19-year-old Udinese player is on loan with second-division SPAL, who are currently top of the league after putting together an 11-game unbeaten run. He already has 32 age-group caps.

Joining Meret as first-timers in the senior Azzurri selection are Atalanta winger Leonardo Spinazzola and Inter Milan full-back Danilo D'Ambrosio, the 28-year-old former Torino player.

After making a fine start to life with Southampton, former Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini is recalled.

Elsewhere in Giampiero Ventura's 25-man squad there are few surprises, with breakthrough internationals Roberto Gagliardini, Daniele Rugani, Davide Zappacosta and Nicola Sansone retained.

Italy are set to meet Albania in a World Cup qualifying game in Palermo on March 24 before tackling Danny Blind's Holland in an Amsterdam friendly four days later.

Italy squad: Buffon, Donnarumma, Meret; Astori, Barzagli, Bonucci, Darmian, D'Ambrosio, De Sciglio, Romagnoli, Rugani, Spinazzola, Zappacosta; De Rossi, Gagliardini, Parolo, Verratti; Bernardeschi, Candreva, Insigne, Sansone; Belotti, Eder, Gabbiadini, Immobile.

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Most Read Football

Jose Mourinho1

Mourinho aiming for top job

Jose Mourinho insists he is still in the market for a top level job in football, as he defended his time at Manchester United due to what was going on behind the scenes.

The latest done deals and transfer rumours with Sporting Life
2

The Transfer Market: Live

Keep up with all the latest transfer news reports and rumours along with the details of all the done deals and latest betting odds.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages3

Paper Talk: Wan-Bissaka battle

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is attracting interest from top Premier League clubs and Man City to be priced out of race for Dutch star, according to the back pages.

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson celebrates4

New Reds deal for Robertson

Liverpool left back Andy Robertson has signed a new long-term deal with Jurgen Klopp's side after an impressive 18 months at Anfield since joining from Hull.

Paul Pogba celebrates5

Pogba sets United challenge

Paul Pogba says Manchester United need to continue their perfect record under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to prove that they are a back to being a major force in the Premier League.

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