Cesare Prandelli is counting on classy midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo to take Italy to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Pirlo was one of the outstanding players of Italy's EURO 2012 campaign and instrumental in getting Prandelli's side to the championship final, that it ultimately ended up losing to defending champion Spain.
"Andrea has to decide for himself and in good time what he wants to do in the future and he still feels the desire to be a key player in the position," Prandelli told the Rai sport television channel.
"He wants to play to the World Cup and for us, he'll always be important."
Pirlo has scored 10 times in his 91 appearances for Italy but has had a muted start to the domestic Serie A season with Juventus.
Prandelli said he was prepared to bring in a number of young players to the squad, such as 19-year-old AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy or fellow forward Mattia Destro of Roma.
Both won their first international caps after EURO 2012.
"We've got to renew and plot our future," added Prandelli. "We can't think about getting to such a tournament without making changes. The younger players need patience but the quality is there."
Italy's all-time leading goalscorer Luigi Riva is leaving his role as a national team staff manager after 50 years of involvement with the Azzurri.