Italy defeated Northern Ireland in their final Euro qualifier last night.
“This is a new squad. Prandelli did well to give enthusiasm to both the new arrivals and the more experienced players, even those who were there in 2006,” Maldini told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The youngsters have grown, but we’re not yet at the same level as the best. There aren’t that many options outside the current crop.
“At Euro 2012 we need players who are ready at that moment, such as Andrea Barzagli, while the younger elements are more long-term choices.
“As for the other defenders, Leonardo Bonucci needs time, especially in a big club like Juventus. Andrea Ranocchia has improved a great deal and can still do much more. Giorgio Chiellini can play left-back or in the centre, so when he matures tactically, he can continue his career in the middle at the top level.”