Beckham: England are playing exceptionally well

The former Manchester United midfielder is enjoying the way the Three Lions are battling and says Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard are two of the best players in the world
Former England midfielder David Beckham says that the Three Lions are playing "exceptionally well" at Euro 2012, but admits they face a tough task ahead of their quarter-final clash with Italy.

England progressed into the knockout stages as winners of Group D, and Beckham says that the team are showing a lot of character.

"I think we have done well," Beckham told reporters. "In certain games, even when they [England] have not played so well, they are battling. They are playing exceptionally well.

"They are showing a togetherness which is obviously important, a lot of character. We've got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of pace.

"They are all performing, and the manager is making the right changes at the right times."
Sian Welby presents our latest show as Kev the Chicken predicts Sunday's action

The former AC Milan man states that his country will face a tough task against the Italians though, and also said that two of the best midfielders in the world will be on display in Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard.

He added: "[England will be] coming up against a good Italian team tomorrow with players like [Andrea] Pirlo. I have obviously played with him and he is one of the most exceptional passers I have ever seen.

"But then we've got Stevie G [Steven Gerrard] who again is one of the best midfielders I have ever played with. We've definitely got a chance of beating them.

"I hope we do, and then we go up against the Germans in the semi-final which would be nice, but we'll take each game as it comes. But it is a proud time for our country. For the team to do well in a big competition would be great for the fans.

"Sure, [Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard] have got a huge amount of respect for each other. They are two of the best midfielders in the world. Whoever plays well is going to set up the team to win the game. But I think there is more than those two players. [Andrea] Pirlo is the important player for them.

"Stevie [Gerrard] is the important player for us. But there are a lot of players playing in this game that can win it. Players like [Antonio] Cassano. I've played with him before and he is a dangerous player. [Mario] Balotelli - he is what he is. He's a goal scorer for them. He has been exceptional for Manchester City and he scored a great goal in the last game.

"But we've got Wayne [Rooney] and other players who have been playing well. [Danny] Welbeck, the two wingers. So it is going to be a good game."