Early Doors

Hodgson fears Pirlo, the man who ‘does not give a toss about pressure’

Early Doors

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Roy Hodgson believes that veteran Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo could pose the biggest threat when England begin their World Cup campaign in Brazil against the Azzurri.

The England boss remembers Pirlo during his time as a coach in Italy and thinks the Juventus playmaker still has plenty of quality at the age of 34.

When asked by Italian TV station Mediaset if he feared AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, Hodgson said: "Do we fear him (Balotelli)? I know him because he played in England (at Manchester City).

"We have respect for everyone but if I have to give a name, I say Pirlo.

"In the last 10 years, he has made Italy play.

"I had him three months at Inter and he has had an incredible career."

Pirlo played for the Italian team that won the World Cup in 2006 in Germany and has been a linchpin for Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

However, not only is it the Italian’s supreme ball playing skills that England should fear but also his attitude to the big games.

It is fair to say that unlike his English compatriots he does not struggle with nerves before a big game, certainly if these comments from his autobiography are anything to go by.

“I don’t feel pressure... I don’t give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon of Sunday, July 9, 2006 in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation,” said the central midfield player.

“In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup.”

PA Sport / Eurosport

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