Martin Skrtel has warned his Liverpool team-mates there will be “no such thing as friends” when Slovakia take on England.
The 31-year-old shares an Anfield dressing room with Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner, with Raheem Sterling another former colleague, but will not be dishing out any preferential treatment in St Etienne on Monday.
“It’s not a normal situation for me, but we’re professionals and it’s all part of the job,” the defender told FIFA.com.
“I know them and they know me, though there’s more to the match than just that.
“In a match like this there are no such things as friends. You can maybe be friends before or after the game, but not on the pitch.
“Everyone will be giving their all for their team and doing their very best to win the game.
“It’s a game between two nations, and England have got one of the best teams in the world.”
Skrtel might tend towards admiration for Roy Hodgson’s squad, no surprise given he has spent eight seasons on Merseyside, but he also appeared to echo Gareth Bale’s recent inflammatory comments.
Bale said prior to Wales’ 2-1 defeat that English players could not match the pride or passion of his side, a theme Skrtel appeared to pick up.
“The smaller countries have probably got more team spirit, especially when they come up against the big countries,” he said.
“The pressure will be on the English, though I think they have enough experience to be able to handle it.
“It’s all going to come down to what happens on the pitch, and I think we can reproduce our performance against Russia (a 2-1 win).
“We showed heart, character and motivation.”