Italian international midfielder Daniele De Rossi has revealed that England skipper Steven Gerrard is his ‘idol’.
The 28-year-old made the revelation ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final between the Three Lions and the Azzurri, with the Roma vice-captain admitting that Gerrard is the ‘symbol’ of English football at Euro 2012.
And, whilst the 75-cap international admits he hasn’t watched any of his opponents matches, he knows Roy Hodgson’s men will pose a challenge when they meet in Kyiv.
“Steven Gerrard has always been my idol. Since 10 years ago, he is among the best in the world. You see Gerrard defending and attacking here and there. I would like to be able to play more like that,” he told a press conference.
De Rossi wasn’t suggesting that England were a one-man team though, with the player well aware that there are a number of threats in the opposition ranks.
“They have other very good players playing on the flanks and it's a really compact team,” he added.
“They have a manager who has been managing in Italy as well, so they know how to play defensively and in attack.”
Italy got to the last eight of the competition after navigating a group that contained Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland, picking up draws against the first two before a comfortable 2-0 win against Giovanni Trapattoni’s men.
As for England, they progressed as winners in Group D, taking a point off France in the opener before victories against Sweden and Ukraine.