Euro 2012: Lescott can keep Man City’s Balotelli quiet, says Milner

James Milner says Joleon Lescott will be the winner if the centre-half comes up against club team-mate Mario Balotelli on Sunday

joleon lescott
Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has 19 England caps Photo: Etihad Airways

joleon lescott

James Milner has backed Joleon Lescott to keep their Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli “quiet” when England meet Italy in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Roy Hodgson’s side booked their place in the last eight courtesy of Wayne Rooney’s second-half winner against Ukraine, with France losing 2-0 to Sweden which ensured England finished top of Group D and avoided Spain.

Cesare Prandelli omitted Balotelli from his starting line-up for Italy’s 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland, but the Azzurri manager could hand the 21-year-old a starting berth against Hodgson’s men.

If so, Balotelli will likely come against three very familiar faces in the form of City trio Joe Hart, Lescott and Milner.

But England midfielder Milner is confident the former Everton defender can keep the controversial striker well marshalled.

“There are two Marios,” said Milner. “There is the one who turns up sometimes in training when it is a bit cold and he is not too interested.

“The other one is when he really wants it and he is a special talent.”

“We know that Mario is a top player but the lads at the back have been brilliant. We might give him a bit of banter before the game. It was good to see him score for Italy but our defenders have been fantastic.

“Joleon has been playing like that all season for City but now he is doing it for England as well. He knows Mario well, trains with him every day so I’m sure he will keep him quiet.

“Mario is a different player and he is going to cause you problems. He is very strong and tricky and he is a clever player as well. He is a danger for Italy but he is one of many.

“They have a lot of good players. We have to make sure we don’t just concentrate on him. We will do our homework and try to perform well.”

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