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England Fully Aware Of Threat Posed By Pirlo

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We are just weeks away from the World Cup, OK so maybe around 6 weeks, but it's time to start looking at our opening opponent.

Denis Doyle

Roy Hodgson has been speaking about the threats posed in England's opening World Cup game against Italy, and he has highlighted one man in particular we are going to have to be wary of:/football/27070709

In the last 10 years, he has made Italy play," said the England manager. "We have respect for everyone but if I have to give a name, I say Pirlo."

That makes perfect sense. Pirlo was MOTM for Italy as they knocked England out of Euro 2012. He was composed and efficient on the ball and his ability to sit in front of the back four and distribute the ball forward kept him fresh, well into extra time.

England will need to give him something to think about on the defensive side of the ball and if I were England, I would have a midfielder on top of Pirlo every single time he got the football. He's a couple of years older but he's still a fantastic player.

It may be a battle between the ageing defensive midfielders as England look to get off to the winning start. Steven Gerrard will look to adapt his game to mirror Pirlo and both players could be vital to the team picking up three points on the night.