Roy Hodgson fears Andrea Pirlo threat

England manager Roy Hodgson takes his seat prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns on February 2, 2014
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Roy Hodgson admits that Andrea Pirlo is the player he fears most ahead of England's World Cup opener against Italy.

England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that the player he fears most is Andrea Pirlo, ahead of England's World Cup opener against Italy.

The Three Lions meet Italy on June 14, two years after being knocked out of Euro 2012 by the same side.

Hodgson claimed that he knows the likes of Mario Balotelli and although Italy have many good players, Pirlo is the one who makes Italy tick.

"Do we fear [Balotelli]? I know him because he played in England," Hodgson told Mediaset.

"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."

England play warm-up matches against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras before their World Cup game against Italy.

Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Czech Republic during their World Cup qualifier on September 10, 2013
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