Parker - No Balotelli grudge
Scott Parker insists he has no bad feelings towards Mario Balotelli after the striker was banned for stamping on his head last season.
Last Updated: 23/06/12 10:57am
England midfielder Scott Parker insists he has no bad feelings towards Mario Balotelli after the Italy striker was banned for stamping on his head last season.
Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final in Kiev could see Parker come up against the temperamental frontman for the first time since the incident, which occurred during Manchester City's home win over Tottenham in January.
Spurs midfielder Parker says he has put the episode behind him after the youngster served a four-match suspension.
"Whether Balotelli meant to do what he did or not, I don't know," said the Three Lions man. "He got punished for it and obviously has served his punishment.
"I am not holding any grudges."
Parker is well aware of Balotelli's firebrand reputation but refused to be drawn on whether the Italian was in danger of wasting his talent.
However, the Spurs star is under no illusions what effect that talent could have when channelled in the right direction.
"Of course, he's a threat," Parker said. "We have all seen his quality.
"I can only really comment on his footballing ability. He is one of many in their team that we will have to take a tough line on."
The blossoming midfield partnership of Parker and Steven Gerrard will face its biggest examination to date on Sunday when they go toe to toe with Italy great Andrea Pirlo.
Parker said: "As a kid and when you play football, you want to pit your wits against the best.
"Pirlo is one of those - the clips I have seen of him in this tournament, his passing ability, his control of the game is fantastic."
He added of the midfield battle: "I am looking at what I will be up against.
"They've played three in there at times and they have got bundles of experience.
"They are very good players but so is the whole team.
"The front players are very tricky as well, so it is going to be a tough game."