Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has suggested England are among the best international teams in the world and is expecting a ‘very hard match’ against the Three Lions on Friday night.
The Azzurri edged it on penalties when the two nations met in the Euro 2020 final just over a year ago, while a UEFA Nations League clash in June ended in a 0-0 draw.
But even though England have failed to win any of their last four games, including a heavy home defeat to Hungary, and face relegation to League B, Mancini is under no illusions about the quality his side will face at San Siro.
"The English team is a great team. It was a great team in Euro 2020 and it was a great team before," Mancini said ahead of the crunch game.
"I think England is one of the best teams in the world. It's full of talent, especially the forwards. They have many players apart from Harry Kane, who is an extraordinary player, but the young players around him can make a difference. So it will be a very hard match for us."
Having also failed to beat Germany and lost away against Hungary, England have just two points in this Nations League campaign and already cannot reach the final with two games to play.
They are bottom of the group and trail Italy by three points, which means they will be relegated to the second tier for the first time if they lose either against the Italians or indeed against Germany in their final game three days later. Even then, their destiny is not in their own hands.