Johnson - Italy more than Mario
Glen Johnson feels Italy are a threat with or without Mario Balotelli in their starting XI and insists England will not obsess over him.
By Rachel Griffiths - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsRachG
Last Updated: 22/06/12 11:04am
Glen Johnson feels Italy are a threat with or without Mario Balotelli in their starting line-up and insists England will not obsess over the striker ahead of Sunday's quarter-final.
It remains to be seen whether the temperamental Manchester City striker will be started by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli in Kiev after a mixed Euro 2012.
The youngster struggled to impress in the Azzurri's opening two games but reacted to being benched in their third encounter against Republic of Ireland by coming on to score their second goal.
Johnson knows Balotelli can have a major impact on games, for both the better and worse, but is adamant England are not worrying over how the frontman will be involved.
"That will be a question for their manager, whether he's going to play or not," the defender told Sky Sports. "I don't mind either way, personally.
"Mario can switch and he can play a major factor in games, whether good or bad.
"Mario is a fantastic player but they've got a squad of 23 good players. We're not going to worry about one individual."
The English players are no strangers to Balotelli's volatile personality having gone up against him in the Premier League but Johnson has echoed goalkeeper Joe Hart in insisting he and his team-mates will not be trying to push the striker's buttons.
"I personally don't go into games thinking like that," he added. "It's another game and you concentrate on yourself and try to do your own job well."
Johnson is feeling confident over England's chances and believes any of the tournament's remaining teams could win it.
"We'll just try and set out to be hard to beat," he said. "We've got some fantastic players in the side that can hurt any defence.
"Any team that's in the tournament has got a chance of winning it. The first objective was to get out of the group and we've done that very well by winning the group.
"So now it's a one-off game, and in a one-off game you can beat anyone."