England midfielder Scott Parker is relishing playing against the best ahead of the nation’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy on Sunday.
England progressed top of Group D but will face a tough test against the 2006 World Cup winners with midfield general Andrea Pirlo at the forefront of Parker’s thoughts.
“As a kid, when you play football, ultimately that is what you want to do. To pit your wits against the best and play against the best,” Parker said.
“Obviously Pirlo is one of them, the clips I have seen of him in this tournament, his passing ability, his control of the game is fantastic so I am really looking forward to the game, like any game really.”
The Tottenham midfielder said the atmosphere in the England squad was intense with little time to get away from the game as you would at club level.
“When you are at your clubs, you go and train and you have the intensity of football, but as soon as football has ended and the training day has ended you then have your normal life and you seem to forget about football for the rest of the day,” he said.
“I think normally in tournaments you are cooped up in your rooms, and it is so intense that all you really think about is football, football, football.”