"The man counts more than the player. I have always relied on men."
Those are the words of new Italy manager Antonio Conte and for many it is a not-so-subtle snipe at Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
The controversial forward was left out of ex-Juventus boss' first Azzurri squad for a friendly against the Netherlands and tonight's Euro 2016 qualifier win against Norway.
Balotelli was serving a one-match international suspension against the Netherlands in any case - which may explain why he was omitted - but there is also a suspicion that Conte is not willing to cut him much slack.
"He wants players with character when the chips are dwon. I don't think he has necessarily closed the door on Balotelli but I do think that he wants to see a change in mentality. To go into the dressing room so soon after what happened [at the World Cup] against Uruguay, it's probably not a surprise that he was left out," said Italian football expert and The Guardian writer James Horncastle who joined us on the line.
Instead the Italy squad is packed with players that Conte worked with at Juventus, while Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza has been elevated to the forefront of the Italian forward line and is playing well.