Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has stoked the flames ahead of the World Cup by saying no English players would get into his squad.
Prandelli's men have been placed alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D at the showpiece event in Brazil.
The outspoken tactician, however, has wasted little time initiating mind games ahead of the pair's opening game in Manaus on June 14.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Prandelli, who is set to name his 30-man squad, says Roy Hodgson's players would be overlooked for his Italy team.
"Hodgson has found some very interesting players, he said. "In particular when you consider them from a physical perspective. They are very technical and resistant.
"They are a very, very strong team.
"They have some interesting young players. Until around a year ago no-one thought they would be able to make an impression in the Premier League.
"But I wouldn't take anyone to have instead of my own players. We are a good team too."
Despite his comments, Prandelli has not ruled out the possibility of working in the Premier League once his time in charge of Italy comes to an end.
"Going abroad fascinates everyone," he added. "Every time I talk to one of my colleagues who is working abroad, they have a smile on their face that I have forgotten about a little bit.
"Maybe in Italy there is too much pressure. I also one day dream of having such an experience.
"The English league is very competitive and full of enthusiasm. It is watched by a lot of people and transmits a lot of emotions."