Italy coach Marcello Lippi has admitted that Roma striker Antonio Cassano was omitted from his squad because he is not ready for football on the highest stage.

The 22-year-old has been impressive for the Giallorossi this season, but was left out of the squad to play in Italy’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

“Let’s clear up one thing, Cassano will one day be tired of coming to play with the national team over the coming years,” said Lippi.

“I heard people saying that I did want not him in the squad to prove a point. For me that is rubbish, at this time Cassano isn’t ready.

“I hope he can find soon some mental and physical fitness. Now, 15 days’ work with new coach Delneri will be useful for him.”

Italy play Slovenia and Belarus in the forthcoming matches with Lippi looking for the same level of performance that brought wins from their opening qualifiers.

“I want to have the same spirit we had a month ago,” Lippi added.

“The players after those two matches came back to their clubs, some did well, others had problems.

“However, now I want to find the same spirit with the best conditions because Slovenia are huge opponents and then we play Belarus.”