Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has stoked the flames ahead of the FIFA World Cup, saying he would not select any of the England players.
Prandelli's men have been placed alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D at the showpiece event in Brazil.
The outspoken tactician, however, has wasted little time initiating mind games ahead of the pair's opening game in Manaus on June 14.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Prandelli, who is set to name his 30-man squad, says Roy Hodgson's players would be overlooked for his Italy team.
"Hodgson has found some very interesting players, he said. "In particular when you consider them from a physical perspective. They are very technical and resistant.
"They are a very, very strong team.
"They have some interesting young players. Until around a year ago no-one thought they would be able to make an impression in the Premier League.
"But I wouldn't take anyone to have instead of my own players. We are a good team too."
While he does not fancy any of the Englishmen, Prandelli admits he is open to the prospect of coaching in England once his work with the Italian national team is done.
"Going abroad fascinates everyone," he said. "Every time I talk to one of my colleagues who is working abroad, they have a smile on their face that I have forgotten about a little bit.
"Maybe in Italy there is too much pressure. I also one day dream of having such an experience.
"The English league is very competitive and full of enthusiasm. It is watched by a lot of people and transmits a lot of emotions."
Meanwhile, Roma striker Mattia Destro believes he has 'demonstrated' enough quality to be selected by Prandelli.
The 23-year-old has netted 13 goals in Serie A this season, including seven in his last six, to help Roma secure a second-place finish behind champions Juventus.
"The World Cup is an important opportunity and a dream for all players," Destro told Sky Sport.
"It is the pinnacle for a player during his career. I think I have demonstrated my quality and what I am capable of."comments