Former England midfielder Ray Parlour believes that Italy should be worrying more about Steven Gerrard than Roy Hodgson’s men are about Andrea Pirlo.

Much of the build-up to the Three Lions’ World Cup opener on Saturday against the Azzurri has centred on the 35-year-old playmaker, who played a vital role in the quarter-final tie between the two sides two years ago at EURO 2012.

The Juventus veteran has been long hailed as one of the very best passers of the ball on the planet, and is widely credited as being Italy’s main source of creativity from his deep role.

Many pundits and experts have claimed that England must get a plan in place to shut down the experienced star, but Parlour feels that they should be even more worried about Hodgson’s answer to Pirlo, Gerrard:

“We should not be man-marking Pirlo,” he told talkSPORT. “Pirlo has been a fantastic player for Italy but he’s getting on a bit now.

“He’s still got that [brilliant] passing ability and he will try and control games. Steven Gerrard is just as good, though, if not better than Pirlo.

“I don’t think England should be worried about players like that.”

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