By ESPNSTAR.com staff
De Rossi is wary of the threat that Gerrard poses when they meet on Sunday and admits that he is a fan of the Liverpool man. He also feels that the former England manager Fabio Capello's influence and current manager Roy Hodgson's experience in Italian football will benefit the Three Lions.
"Gerrard has always been my idol, he has been playing at a high level for years," De Rossi told reporters at a press conference, "England are very strong, they have an Italian approach, with a good defence."
"They have other very good players playing on the flanks and it's a really compact team." he added, "They have a manager who has been managing in Italy as well, so they know how to play defensively and in attack."
"Of course, I really feel sorry for him. I really wish him the best for the future. I'm really grateful to Capello because, when I was playing for the young team of Roma, he helped me a lot to get to the national team.
"Fabio Capello is the coach who helped me most in my career. To say I owe it all to him isn't going far enough."
De Rossi has been deployed by Cesare Prandelli as a sweeper against Spain and Croatia but reverted to his usual role as a central midfielder against Ireland. However, he is unsure as yet the role he will play against England.
"Prandelli trusts me, he showed that by deploying me as a defender," De Rossi added. "He makes me play in different positions, which is something that I like.
"I do not know where I will play against England."
One thing England and Italy have in common is an appalling record in penalty shootouts but De Rossi was relaxed about the prospect of spot-kicks on Sunday, claiming that the Azzurri are not specifically preparing for a penalty shootout.
He said: "To be honest, I haven't paid attention to this record. During a penalty shootout, you have to be calm. Lots will depend on your goalkeeper as well. We're not preparing for the game in order to go to a penalty shootout."
Italy did at least manage to win the 2006 World Cup on penalties, although they crashed out of Euro 2008 two years later after a shootout with eventual champions Spain.
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De Rossi added: "We will try to kick our penalties like in the World Cup in 2006 and not like four years ago against Spain."
Italy won the World Cup six years ago amid a match-fixing scandal in the country's domestic game, much as they had done in 1982.
Italian football is currently engulfed in another such scandal and De Rossi said: "This does not give us a greater motivation to play. This is a group composed of great players, professionals, who can really creaet team spirit. Maybe this is a feature of Italian people, who can overcome great difficulties very well."
De Rossi, who signed a new five-year contract with Roma in February, appeared to reignite speculation about his future yesterday when he claimed English football was "more interesting" than its Italian counterpart.
The midfielder has previously been linked with Manchester City and Manchester United and claimed he had received several offers to defect to the Premier League.
He said: "I have received many offers from English football. And I must say that I feel attraction for it.
"I like English football very much. I think now it's probably more interesting than Italian football.
"There are lots of outstanding and talented players, as is the case for Spain as well."
De Rossi could not have summed up the mixed feelings towards the Manchester City forward better today as Balotelli's name once again dominated another press conference.
Asked about the "scandals" that have dogged Balotelli since his move to England, De Rossi said: "Mario and his tabloids issue? Ask him.
"I don't know if he's bothered, or maybe he is just feeding them too much.
"Of course, sometimes, he commits some mistakes off the pitch. But it's his responsibility.
"He simply has to accept the manager's decision."