Cristian Volpato's decision on his international allegiance is a personal one that "should not be sped up", Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has said.
With the 18-year-old scoring two goals and contributing one assist in just 106 minutes of Serie A football for Roma, a fierce battle for Volpato's services at international level has emerged.
Born in New South Wales, Volpato is also eligible to represent Italy and has featured at youth level for the European side.
Australia had hoped the lure of World Cup football, with the Socceroos tackling France, Tunisia and Denmark in Group D in Qatar, would persuade Volpato to select his country of birth – with European champions Italy not qualifying for the tournament.
However, Volpato rejected the call-up, not wishing to rush into a decision, and Mourinho believes it was the right call.
"I think it is a personal decision and the club has not been involved. As a coach, for example, I would refuse to call up a player, even a young one, in a situation like that," he said in a press conference.
"What I understand is that he is at the beginning of his career and that he's growing with Roma by getting more minutes in consecutive matches.
18,350 - Cristian Volpato (18 years, 350 days) has become the youngest AS Roma player to both score and deliver an assist in a Serie A match since Opta started collecting this kind of data (since 2004/05). Solver.#VeronaRoma pic.twitter.com/UgCBjmSQVY— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 31, 2022
"It's not like last year where he played just one game against Verona and then he didn't play again, I think he has now played four games in a row.
"He is in a development phase where I think he has to focus on building his future and not on certain decisions where maybe someone else wants to accelerate a process that should not be sped up."
Volpato used social media on Wednesday to issue a comment on the matter.
"I've seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level: the truth is I am just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma," he posted on Instagram.
"Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.
"There will be plenty of time for me to make the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player."