Photo: Gabriele Maltinti (Getty)

Italy’s pantry of attacking players has long been worryingly bare, and with the recent injury to striker Simone Zaza, national team manager Roberto Mancini was practically starved for a new flavor to add to the mix. Today Mancini announced that he has at last found the missing ingredient: Lasagna.

Kevin Lasagna is a 26-year-old striker who currently plays for Udinese. He isn’t exactly the tastiest choice to represent Italy, but he’s a solid, dependable staple Mancini can trust to please the crowd and his fellow countrymen in the squad. In many ways, Lasagna embodies the traits people have come to expect from products cooked in Italy: he’s big, hearty, versatile, multi-layered, and at his best, absolutely drenched in sauce.

The folks back at Udinese have to be absolutely thrilled that their very own Lasagna has been chosen for this illustrious honor. Lasagna was one of the only good things bringing Udinese fans into the stadium last season. The team probably would’ve starved to death without Lasagna, who was the only player supplying the team with a steady diet of goals. With his 12 Serie A goals so necessary in the team’s successful relegation fight last season, plus this national team call-up, Udinese should consider the €4.5 million they paid for Lasagna last year an absolute steal.

Even during this age’s relative famine of elite Italian strikers, Lasagna is hardly the best Italy can offer. After all, it’s no coincidence that he’s never before been chosen to represent his country. And it’s no guarantee that Lasagna will make an official appearance in either Italy’s friendly against Ukraine tomorrow or the (a little) more important UEFA Nations League match against Poland on Sunday. But under the patient and caring hands of a master chef like Mancini, and coupled with a complementary spread surrounding him, we’ll bet that if Mancini does put the Udinese striker out there, he’ll be able to serve up the best Lasagna we’ve ever seen.