Borini set for early Reds return

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari felt his side’s friendly draw

with Italy in Geneva had been a “useful test” as they gear up for

hosting next year’s World Cup.

The South Americans stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from

Fred and Oscar, but Italy responded in the second period as Daniele

De Rossi and Mario Balotelli brought them level by the hour


Scolari, quoted on the Brazilian federation website, said: “We faced an Italy team that has been playing

together for three years and, of course, had the advantage of

unity. Still, we managed to impose ourselves for part of the match

and showed some good football.

“The most important thing is that the game served as a useful

test, we had to face a very skilled opponent.”

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was pleased with the character

shown by his side in coming back from a two-goal deficit.

“We played a great game,” he told

“After 30 minutes we conceded two goals and the game seemed to

have been closed out, however we were good (enough to come


Prandelli also hailed the “personality and technical qualities”

of debutants Alessio Cerci and Mattia De Sciglio, and said of

striker Balotelli: “He created a number of chances, he was very

good in attack.”

AC Milan defender De Sciglio was pleased with his bow, and felt

he had acquitted himself well in his duel with Brazil’s Dani


“I try to give my best and to make things easier for the team,

this is a wonderful group and I will try to be there as as long as

possible,” he said.

“We are a great team and we showed that last night. Dani Alves

is a great champion, it is difficult to mark him. I think I did

well in defence, in attack I only came forward a few times to cross

but we were trying not to lose the ball.”

Prandelli was conscious of managing his resources well, with

Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier away to Malta coming up. For Scolari,

their next friendly is against Russia in London on Monday.

Borini sustained a dislocation in February but is progressing

well, however, Kelly’s comeback from anterior cruciate ligament

surgery in September will not be rushed.

“Fabio Borini was outside for the first time today (Friday) so

he’s starting that progression – passing balls, running and doing

ball work,” said head of performance Glen Driscoll.

“He’s due to be probably another six weeks from this point on.

The injury he’s had is normally eight to 12 weeks. He’s quite a

quick rehabilitator.

“At the moment, it’s looking pretty positive for Fabio that he

could be back ahead of schedule and maybe make the end of the


There are more issues to be taken into consideration with the

type of injury Kelly suffered, which usually has about a nine-month

lay-off period. And while the 22-year-old has made such good

progress the temptation may be to give him a run out before the end

of the campaign, Driscoll stressed that may not be in the

defender’s best interests.

“Martin is doing extremely well; he’s probably at the late stage

of his rehab,” he told

“We’ll probably look to prioritise getting him back for

pre-season 110% fit – 10% fitter, stronger and quicker, more

powerful and agile than he was previously.

“He’ll probably be in a position where it will be tempting to

put him into games again this season but it will show class and

quality if we make sure that he’s in a very strong position so he

can fly next season.

“Martin should look at what Steven Gerrard has achieved this

season (playing every minute of every Premier League match so far):

people would never have considered that he would be available for a

full campaign. He should take great hope from that and know that if

he continues to work and continues his professionalism, hopefully

the future is bright. We hope to give him every chance.”