Premier League

Borini set for early Reds return

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Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:07:00

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 mark.

Scolari, quoted on the Brazilian federation website www.cbf.com.br, 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 vivoazzurro.it.

"After 30 minutes we conceded two goals and the game seemed to have been closed out, however we were good (enough to come back)."

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 Alves.

"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 season."

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 Liverpoolfc.com.

"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."

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