Paul Scholes has urged Roy Hodgson to use Danny Welbeck to man-mark Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo but could he cope with the task?
Pirlo was incredible in the Euro 2012 quarter-final against England, and somehow the Three Lions held on for a 0-0 draw after extra-time.
However the Italian midfielder made sure of the job as his cheeky Panenka penalty beat Joe Hart to help send the Azzurri into the semi-finals.
Scholes feels that Hodgson "underestimated him" on that day and believes we need an "English Park Ji-Sung" to mark Pirlo throughout the game to have any chance of winning.
"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."
"Gary Neville and the England management are well aware of Pirlo's threat. We cannot make the mistakes of 2012 again," Scholes said in his latest Paddy Power blog.
Although Welbeck is an attacking threat and could "saddle" Pirlo with defensive duties, his inexperience in defending such a talented midfielder could leave England exposed.
The 23-year-old is primarily a striker, and although he can play on the left wing as well, placing him in the middle of the park against a veteran like Pirlo could be too much of a gamble for Hodgson to consider.
Defensively, Welbeck's stats from last season aren't too bad, although it is difficult to read too much into them considering he was chasing fullbacks and defenders for much of the campaign.
|Team||Pos||Apps||Won Tackle / apps||Challenge Lost / apps||Interception Won / apps||Aerial Won / apps||Aerial Lost / apps||Mins|
|Danny Welbeck||Man Utd||FW||25||0.60||0.48||0.92||0.44||0.76||1,459|
He did win more tackles than he lost per game, and made almost one interception per game, which isn't too bad given his position.
A concern would be his lack of aerial dominance, though again, he was coming up against big central defenders, and should cope with an aerial duel against Pirlo.
Scholes comments do make plenty of sense but Welbeck isn't the man for the job if we're looking for an "English Park Ji-Sung".
He would work hard for the entire game, and wouldn't give Pirlo much space to breathe but the 35-year-old only needs an inch to cause damage in behind opposition defences, and he would find that eventually.
Another issue would be the man to sit out if Welbeck were to man-mark Pirlo and you would have to imagine it would be Wayne Rooney.
Rooney plays just behind the striker, and if England were to focus on dealing with the Italian midfielder then that is certainly a position that may have to be surrendered.