Ventura remains undecided on Balotelli recall

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Mario Balotelli must show his desire to play for the Italy national team if he is to earn an international recall in 2017, says Giampiero Ventura.

Balotelli has not featured for the Azzurri since the World Cup in Brazil over two years ago but his name has been mentioned for a future call-up after his impressive performances for Nice.

After troubled spells with Liverpool and AC Milan, the striker has found his mojo again in Ligue 1, scoring eight goals in as many league games to help Nice to the top of the table.

Italy are not in action until a World Cup qualifier with Albania in March and coach Ventura has once again hinted Balotelli could be included.

"Will I talk with Balotelli? Absolutely, yes," Ventura told a media conference.

"As to whether he'll be called up, right now I don't know. His qualities are not up for discussion, but there are other things that can be questioned and now we have to see where we can go.

"The strength of a team is to have everyone pulling in the same direction, everyone has to be on board.

"That goes for every player, not just Balotelli. The talk that I'll have with him won't be decisive in whether or not he's called up."