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Mangia takes Italy U21 helm

Devis Mangia is hoping to emulate the success of Cesare Prandelli after being appointed Ciro Ferrara's successor as Italy Under-21 coach with the team well placed in European qualifying.

Denis Mangia is the new Italy U21 coach
Denis Mangia is the new Italy U21 coach ©Getty Images

Devis Mangia has been appointed Italy Under-21 coach to replace Ciro Ferrara.

Ferrara was appointed by UC Sampdoria after leading the Azzurrini to five wins in six games at the start of 2013 UEFA Under-21 European Championship qualifying. Mangia, who will begin with a friendly away to the Netherlands on 15 August, began coaching in his early 20s with AS Varese impressing at Primavera level both with that club and US Palermo Calcio, where he took over the Serie A squad last season.

The 38-year-old said: "Leading the U21s is one of the most prestigious jobs in Italian football. I have a great example to follow in [Cesare] Prandelli, I will try to have a similar approach to him. I have had the luck to have coached kids in all youth categories, I hope to use those experiences in the best possible way in my new job."

Italy, who are four points clear of Turkey at the top of qualifying Group 7 with a game in hand, will aim to clinch a play-off spot when the face Liechtenstein on 6 September and the only side that can catch them, the Republic of Ireland, four days later.