England news

Parker revels in Gerrard partnership

Midfielder happy with captain's influence

ESPN staff

Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard have been praised for their Euro 2012 contributions

Scott Parker is revelling in his role alongside Steven Gerrard in the England midfield, praising his captain's "all-round game".

England are preparing for a Euro 2012 quarter-final with Italy and Gerrard and Parker will have key roles to play, having settled in well together as the Three Lions progressed through the group phase.

Parker has played alongside several partners in the England midfield, but believes that Gerrard's leadership and technical qualities make him a special proposition.

"Steven has been fantastic since we've met up. He is a leader that does his talking on the pitch in the way his football does a lot of talking," Parker said.

"I am thriving in playing alongside him. He is someone who I have always looked up to and he is a fantastic player. When you have the qualities and the abilities of Steven, you can adapt pretty well and I think you are seeing that now."

There had been questions over whether Gerrard would adapt to the more defensive, tactically disciplined role that Hodgson expects of his central players, but Parker believes the Liverpool man has done well.

He added: "He's obviously got a bit more of a defensive role but, in saying that, he has produced some great assists since he's played. So I think he has got the all-round game really."

As England get ready to face Italy on Sunday, Parker played down talk of a potential confrontation with striker Mario Balotelli, who received a four-game ban for a stamp on the Tottenham player's head  in January.

Parker said: "Whether Balotelli meant to do what he did I don't know, obviously he got punished for it and served his punishment. It was part and parcel of football. I am not holding any grudges against him."



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