England take on Italy in the European Championship final on Sunday and according to Paul Merson, the Three Lions will need to stop Jorginho from playing his A-game.
The Chelsea midfielder has taken a fair bit of time to settle down in the Premier League but for the national side, he has been a class apart. Jorginho has been one of the standout players for Roberto Mancini’s side during the ongoing Euros and Merson believes England will need to keep a check on him if they wish to overcome Italy.
“England must stop Jorginho if they want to beat Italy and I don’t think it’s going to be a low-scoring game,” Merson told the Daily Star.
“Both teams have been so solid defensively in this tournament but they both have too much pace and movement up front so I think there will be a lot of goals. We have to stop that Italy midfield if we want to win the game because it’s that that makes them tick.
“It all starts with Jorginho, who is having a brilliant tournament. He’s been everywhere, and he controls games with his passing.
“England need to get after him because three passes from midfield and bang, they’re in.
“These two teams have been the best at the Euros for me. But Italy will be worried about England because the home advantage of Wembley will be huge.
“Italy have looked vulnerable in recent games. You knew they’d be under the cosh against Belgium because they’re the No 1 team in the world.
“But Austria gave them a scare, and they were on the ropes against Spain until they showed their resilience, dug in, and found a way to win. We can beat them.”
Will Jorginho be the difference-maker?
The defensive midfielder has been the fulcrum around which the Italian side have been playing such brilliant football over the past few weeks and England will need to devise a plan to stop him.
He has played in 6 matches in this edition of the European Championship making 399 successful passes at a staggering accuracy of 93%.
In the 585 minutes that he has played so far, Jorginho has made 40 successful ball recoveries and his defensive game came to the forefront when Italy managed to shut down Spain in the semi-final and take the game to penalties.
Jorginho made seven interceptions against Spain, more than any other player has in a game at Euro 2020.
He also scored the winning penalty. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/rjBrhwQbzB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 6, 2021
There’s no doubt that players like Chiesa and Insigne will be properly man-marked but if England need to finish the game within regulation time then players like Mason Mount and Declan Rice will need to make sure that Jorginho is not given time on the ball.
The Chelsea man is world-class when he can look and take a few seconds to make a pass but he is not comfortable when opposition players are hounding him. That is the time when he starts making mistakes. If the English players can stop him from getting comfortable on the ball then there’s every chance that Bonucci and Chiellini will come under added pressure.