| KRAKOW, Poland, June 20
KRAKOW, Poland, June 20 Daniele De Rossi is
arguably Italy's most English-style player, relying on power
rather than finesse, but the midfielder acknowledges he has not
yet "exploded" ahead of Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final against
Sometimes described as the Steven Gerrard of Serie A, the AS
Roma player started the first two games at Euro 2012 in the
unusual position of central defence before returning to midfield
in the 2-0 win over Ireland which sealed second spot in Group C.
De Rossi is happy to be in the middle of the battle where he
looks set to lock horns with England captain Gerrard, a player
he rates highly just like Roy Hodgson's side.
"Gerrard is the symbol of their team, he has been playing
for 10 years. Gerrard is the symbol of this 'universal' player
because he can play well in defence and in attack," he told a
news conference on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, I haven't seen England much (at this
tournament). They have young, very strong wingers. It won't be
"The coach has had a career which also brought him to Italy.
They know how to be defensive but to attack. They are a strong
The once wild child of the Italy squad has calmed down
markedly in recent years but asked why he had not yet "exploded"
in a positive sense in Poland and Ukraine, De Rossi was candid.
"I don't know, really I don't know," he said.
"I don't know in what role or what formation I will
Coach Cesare Prandelli hinted he played De Rossi in a new
three-man defence for the group openers to make his side wake up
after three friendly defeats before the tournament, but he is
likely to stick with the 4-3-1-2 system from the Ireland game.
Italy could have met France in the last eight but De Rossi
said there was no preference between the two, even if England
will bring lots more fans to Kiev than France would have done.
Hard-up Italian fans are also notoriously bad travellers.
"Italy is living through a delicate time (economically).
England have a tradition of bringing lots of followers en
masse," he said, shrugging the issue off as a problem for the
De Rossi also hailed former England manager Fabio Capello,
who left under a cloud in February, for nurturing him during
their time together at Roma but he thought the late change in
England coach made little difference.
However, he added that in terms of preparation and
motivation "Capello could scare you".
(Editing by Ed Osmond)