Paul Scholes and Andrea Pirlo
Paul Scholes (L), pictured playing in a 2007 Champions League match, knows first hand what Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo (R) is capable of. Getty

Paul Scholes said Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo is the man England must stop in their first World Cup match against Italy.

The former England and Manchester United midfielder said the Italian veteran could "destroy" Roy Hodgson's side in their opening Group D game on 14 June.

Speaking to bookmaker Paddy Power, Scholes, who won 66 caps for his country, said Pirlo was the best player in the world in his postion and that to stop him England should use tactics employed by his old Manchester United manager Sir Alex Fergsuon.

"Pirlo is the world's greatest playmaker – the complete footballer," he said. "Give him time and space and he will destroy you. He's such a clever player and is so composed. If surrounded he'll lay it off. If he's got room he's devastating.

"He was outstanding in the World Cup in 2006 and got three man of the match awards six years later at Euro 2012.

"Even though England's Euro 2012 game against Italy finished 0-0, we paid nowhere near enough attention to him. Pirlo is not renowned for his athleticism, and he's 35 now, but that day he ran 11.58 kilometres, more than any England player. He also had more passes (131) than England's four starting midfielders."

Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo (L) scored a sublime penalty against England at Euro 2010 Getty

Scholes believes Hodgson afforded Pirlo too much freedom to launch attacks when the sides last met at Euro 2010.

"In 2010 before Man United played AC Milan in the Champions League, Sir Alex gave very specific instructions on how to take care of Pirlo. Man-marking him was a huge part of our pre-game plan – I played against him when Milan beat us 3-0 at the San Siro in 2007.

"We didn't man-mark him. He destroyed us. We learned, and it was painful. Park Ji-Sung was the perfect man for Pirlo in 2010 and never gave him kick (in a 7-2 aggregate victory). You could even see Pirlo getting frustrated and having little kicks out by the end."

The 39-year-old said former United team mate Danny Welbeck was best suited to patrol Pirlo as he had good defensive qualities and offered offensive options.