FLORENCE: Italy coach Antonio Conte has shrugged off speculation about his taking over at Chelsea in the summer as he prepared for friendlies against Spain and Germany.
Conte, 46, announced last week he will step down from his position with the national team in the summer. He has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge when interim manager Guus Hiddink’s contract concludes at the end of the current season.
But Conte, who said he would leave the national team after Euro 2016 to take a job in club management, prefers to focus on Thursday’s meeting with Spain and the game with Germany on March 29 ahead of this summer’s European Championship.
When asked about the Chelsea job, the Italian told a press conference in Coverciano: “There aren’t any offers in England tempting me because right now I’m still the coach of the national team and for me this is a fantastic experience.
“In the future, I will consider what is going to happen but my focus right now is completely on Italy. However, I do believe it was right to show transparency by announcing that I will not be here next season.
“All I know is that I won’t be here and I will return to club coaching and it is a decision not to be taken lightly. Let’s see what the future holds for me, whether it is in Italy or abroad.”
Conte was appointed Italy manager in August 2014 shortly after resigning as coach of Juventus.
He said: “It’s been a fantastic, extraordinary experience and I’ve always envied coaches who have taken part at a World Cup or a European Championship. I’m excited about the competition in June, I am rarin’ to go.
“These are experiences that happen once in a lifetime and I feel a great responsibility.”
Conte has been forced to make one change to his squad due to injury to Torino forward Ciro Immobile with Anderlecht striker Stefano Okaka called up as his replacement.