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“He is in a development phase”- Mourinho reacts to Volpato’s World Cup snub

Jose Mourinho has defended Cristian Volpato for delaying the confirmation of his international allegiance to Australia.

Due to Volpato’s eligibility to play for both Italy and Australia, the Socceroos were eager to integrate him into the Australian national squad as quickly as possible after the 18-year-old youngster impressed for Mourinho’s Roma this season. In the end, Volpato made the decision to decline the opportunity to compete for his native nation at the 2022 World Cup, and Mourinho has supported the young player while also criticising Australia’s decision to call him up in the first place.

Mourinho’s reaction

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.”

Volpato’s comment

In response to the constant rumors on social media about his future abroad, Volpato wrote 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.”

With a Serie A match against Sassuolo coming up next on Wednesday, it seems the teenager’s ambitions are clear: the emphasis is on continuing to impress at Roma and developing a breakthrough position in the lineup into a more consistent one.

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