World Cup 2014: Paul Scholes says England can stop Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo, they just need their own Park ji-Sung

South Korean was often deployed to be Pirlo's nemesis by Sir Alex Ferguson

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The Independent Football

Paul Scholes claims that England can stop the "world's greatest playmaker" Andrea Pirlo when they face Italy in their World Cup opener on 14 June, they just need their own Park ji-Sung.

Every time Pirlo played against Manchester United in the Champions League, Sir Alex Ferguson deployed the energetic Park to closely mark the Italian. This strategy had so much success, Pirlo even spoke about it in his autobiography, 'I Think Therefore I Play', labelling Park the "first nuclear-powered South Korean in history".

Scholes says using a defensive midfielder, like Park, to close down Pirlo at all times is the only way to stop him "destroying" teams, like he did against England in Euro 2012.

The former United and England midfielder wrote in his latest blog for Paddy Power: "Pirlo is the world’s greatest playmaker – the complete footballer. Give him time and space and he will destroy you. He’s such a clever player and is so composed. If surrounded he’ll lay it off. If he’s got room he’s devastating.

"In 2010 before Man United played AC Milan in the Champions League, Sir Alex gave very specific instructions on how to take care of Pirlo. Man-marking him was a huge part of our pre-game plan – I played against him when Milan beat us 3-0 at the San Siro in 2007. We didn’t man-mark him. He destroyed us. We learned, and it was painful.


"Park Ji-Sung was the perfect man for Pirlo in 2010 and never gave him kick (in a 7-2 aggregate victory). You could even see Pirlo getting frustrated and having little kicks out by the end."

Andrea Pirlo evades Paul Scholes' challenge in 2007


Park gets his head on the ball first against Milan's Pirlo in Feb 2010

Scholes added: "For Manaus, we need an 'English Park Ji-Sung' – one England player designated to man-mark him. Looking at the squad, Danny Welbeck – a good defender who can nick the ball well – could be an option and would be a bold decision, one which gives England a creative  outlet, and saddles Pirlo with defensive work."