England vs Italy: 5 players England should watch out for

As Gareth Southgate welcomes the Italian national team to Wembley, here are five players who could cause his team problems.

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(Photo credit: Илья Хохлов)

Luigi Di Biagio has an unfortunate place in his country’s history. It was his missed-penalty at the World Cup in 1998 that consigned the Azzurri to their quarter-final defeat against France. 

To a more educated observer, however, he was a talented defensive midfielder who boasted successful stints at both Internazionale and Roma.

Filling the Italian managerial vacancy on a temporary basis, it’s unlikely that Di Biagio will have the chance to emulate Enzo Bearzot and win an international tournament without managing a single game in Serie A. 

Despite a chastening 2-0 defeat to Argentina at the Etihad Stadium last week, there were encouraging signs of progress for a side that had been strangled by Giampiero Ventrone’s conservative tactics. 

The Italians lined up with an enterprising 4-3-3, with a young starting eleven marshalled well by veterans like Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci. 

With a side keen on rebuilding their reputation after failing to reach Russia this summer, England must keep an eye on the following five players if they’re to secure a result.