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Volpato defended by Mourinho after Australia World Cup snub: 'I would refuse to call up a player in a situation like that'

8:47 PM SGT 9/11/22
Volpato-Roma-2022-23
Jose Mourinho has spoken in defence of Cristian Volpato for his decision to delay pledging his international allegiance to Australia.
  • Volpato turned down Australia call-up
  • Represented Italy at youth level
  • Has starred for Roma this season

WHAT HAPPENED? With the 18-year-old starlet impressing for Mourinho's Roma this season, the Socceroos were incredibly keen on getting Volpato integrated into the Australia national team as soon as possible, due to his eligibilty to also represent Italy. Volpato ultimately decided to reject the chance to represent his country of birth at the 2022 World Cup, and Mourinho has backed the teenager while questioning why Australia called him up in the first place.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking in a press conference, Mourinho explained: "I think it is a personal decision and the club has not been involved. As a coach, for example, I would refuse to call up a player, even a young one, in a situation like that."

He added: "What I understand is that he is at the beginning of his career and that he's growing with Roma by getting more minutes in consecutive matches. It's not like last year where he played just one game against Verona and then he didn't play again, I think he has now played four games in a row.

"He is in a development phase where I think he has to focus on building his future and not on certain decisions where maybe someone else wants to accelerate a process that should not be sped up."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Volpato responded to endless speculation regarding his international future on social media, writing on Instagram: "I've seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level: the truth is I am just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma. Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.

"There will be plenty of time for me to make the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player."

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR VOLPATO? It appears the teenager's intentions are clear; the focus is on continuing to impress at Roma and turn a breakthrough position in the side into a more consistent one, with a Serie A clash against Sassuolo up next on Wednesday.