England must shackle ‘world’s greatest playmaker’ Pirlo, warns Scholes

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Former England star Paul
Scholes warns that the
Three Lions must put
pressure on Andrea Pirlo in
their World Cup opener
against Italy.
Hailing the Juventus midfielder as “the world’s
greatest playmaker”, the Manchester United legend
feels that Roy Hodgson’s side must learn from their
mistakes in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, when the
Azzurri progressed on penalties.
Scholes sees Danny Welbeck as a good candidate to
start the game in Manaus in order to make life
difficult for Cesare Prandelli’s key man.
Writing for the Paddy Power Blog , the 39-year-old
said of Pirlo: “He’s the world’s greatest playmaker –
the complete footballer.
“Give him time and space and he will destroy you.
He’s such a clever player and is so composed. If
surrounded he’ll lay it off. If he’s got room he’s
“Even though England’s Euro 2012 game against
Italy finished 0-0, we paid nowhere near enough
attention to him. Roy Hodgson seems to have
underestimated him, which surprised me given Alex
Ferguson’s tactics against Pirlo previously.
“In 2010, before United played AC Milan in the
Champions League, Sir Alex gave very specific
instructions on how to take care of Pirlo.
“Man-marking him was a huge part of our pre-game
plan – I played against Pirlo when Milan beat us 3-0
at San Siro in 2007. We didn’t man-mark him. He
destroyed us. We learned and it was painful. Park Ji-
Sung was the perfect man for Pirlo in 2010 and
never gave him a kick [as United beat Milan 7-2 on
“For Manaus, we need an English Park Ji-Sung –
one England player designated to man-mark him.
Looking at the squad, Danny Welbeck (a good
defender who can nick the ball well) could be an
option and would be a bold decision, one which
gives England a creative outlet and saddles Pirlo with
defensive work.”
Being vexed by Park in 2010 left a mark on Pirlo,
who wrote in his 2013 autobiography that
Ferguson’s tactic caused him to lose respect for the
Scottish great.
“Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed manager
who turned Manchester United into a fearsome
battleship, couldn’t resist the temptation,” fumed the
Italy international.
“He’s essentially a man without blemish but he
ruined that purity just for a moment when it came to
me. A fleeting shabbiness came over the legend that
“The midfielder must have been the first nuclear-
powered South Korean in history. Even though he
was already a famous player in his own right, he
consented to being used as a guard dog, willfully
limiting his own potential.”

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