England boss Roy Hodgson will name his 30-man pre-squad for the World Cup on Monday, and the mind games have already begun with Italy coach Cesare Prandelli claiming no Three Lions players would make it into his Azzurri side.
England are not among the favourites for World Cup glory in the summer but neither are fellow Group D rivals Italy.
Hodgson’s men will face off against Prandelli’s side in their group opener in Manaus on June 14—a game which could prove pivotal to Italy and England's hopes of progression to the knockout stages.
The mind games may not be from the Jose Mourinho textbook, but Prandelli has put the boot in by claiming the players at Hodgson’s disposal would not find a spot in his team.
They are a very, very strong team. Hodgson has found some very interesting players. In particular when you consider them from a physical perspective. They are very technical and resistant.
Which players would I take from the English? They have some interesting young players. Until around a year ago no one thought they would be able to make an impression in the Premier League.
But I wouldn’t take anyone to have instead of my own players. We are a good team too.
Following the clash with Italy in Manaus, England take on Uruguay in Sao Paulo on June 19 and then close their group campaign against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on June 24.
Italy face Uruguay in Natal in their final group game. Prandelli's comments about the England squad may ring true but similar comments with regard to Uruguay—who have a certain Luis Suarez in their ranks—would be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.