Roma deny Cassano axe

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Luciano Spalletti has denied speculation Antonio Cassano is frozen out of Roma's first-team picture.

The striker was missing from the Giallorossi's opening 3-0 win over Reggina, but his absence had nothing to do with his refusal to sign a new contract at Stadio Olimpico.

Roma had been hoping to secure Cassano, who has less than a year remaining on his existing contract, on a long-term contract this summer.

"My intention and the club's is to allow him [Cassano] to play," said Spalletti.

"Then whether he stays in the team will be down to me and his displays on the pitch.

"There are evaluations that I'll do in person by simply watching him on the pitch."