Gareth Southgate has praised Roberto Mancini's influence on Italy's squad and issued a warning to his team of the threat Mancini's modernised system poses.
Southgate admitted that the Azzurri boss has completely revamped the squad making them virtually unrecognisable from the team he knew during his playing days. England take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday and the Three Lions are desperate to win their first trophy since 1966.
"They've got a very clear way of playing, great spirit, great energy in the way they play, tactically like all Italian teams very good, but also the style of play is probably different to the Italian teams from when I was younger - very modern," Southgate said.
"I've been watching them closely for two years, because I know the job Roberto Mancini was doing. What Roberto [Mancini] has done and the way Italy have played in the last couple of year… it speaks for itself in terms of the wins, the small number of goals conceded. The style of play has been exceptional. It's an exceptional team and I think, without doubt, the two best teams in the tournament have made the final.
Southgate added that it will be an honour to be leading England at Wembley on Sunday, and said: "It’s an honour. Because we’re a special country, we are historically an incredible country and I know I couldn’t be prouder to be an Englishman.
“I can’t be prouder to have the opportunity to lead my country so to bring happiness at this time where it’s been so difficult for this period is a very special feeling.”