England defender Joleon Lescott said he normally beats club team-mate and upcoming opponent Italy’s Mario Balotelli in training.
Much of the build-up to the clash at Euro 2012 has been focused on the 21-year-old attacker Balotelli, and Lescott said he will be approaching a potential match-up against his City colleague in a professional manner.
“I realise a lot is going to be made out of me and Mario because we both play together at City,” Lescott told The Sun.
“And obviously me and Mario have had a few good battles in training. Normally I come out on top but then again you don’t win any prizes in training.
“This is England versus Italy in the quarter-final of a major tournament and it will need a combined effort from the whole team for us to be successful.
“It’s all about being professional and going about our business. It’s a serious matter.”
The former Everton defender also said he will be dreaming of winning the competition to add to his Premier League success, but only if they get past Italy and then Germany.
“It would be absolutely amazing to do a double of winning the Premier League and then the European Championship.
“But I’m not looking that far ahead. It’s Italy next.
“Only if we get to the final can you start dreaming of winning it. It was the same at Man City. We didn’t think about winning the league until we went into the last game against QPR.
“Winning the FA Cup was the start, then going on to win the Premier League, being part of the England team, going well in this tournament.
“It has been great, a real honour for me, especially playing in a tournament like this but there’s still a long way to go.”
Lescott said England’s effort to top their group at the championships was a positive for their confidence, but may prove a burden on their expectations.
“It was a massive bonus winning the group and it will definitely crank up the expectations now,” he said.
“But I think the belief has always been there in this squad, in this team. Look at the players we have got and the things they have won in their individual careers.
“I don’t think they’ve got low expectations of themselves. I think they are confident of doing well for the nation.
“Me? I just love playing and all the stuff that goes around it — to be involved in this and to hear the excitement that is building back home is just great.”
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