Martin Skrtel admits he would happily scythe down Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge if it meant guaranteeing Slovakia’s progress at Euro 2016.
Skrtel has five club colleagues in the England camp, but is likely to come into closest contact with Sturridge, who appears to have played his way into Roy Hodgson’s starting XI.
The 26-year-old striker scored the winner against Wales after beginning on the bench in the 2-1 Group B victory.
And with both sides chasing a place in the last 16, Skrtel said he would have no second thoughts about taking out one of his Merseyside mates if the moment came.
“We can be friends before and after the game. On the pitch, there are no friends,” the man known as ‘Terminator’ said.
“If you asked Daniel he’d answer the same. We try and do the best for the team. If that means having to kick him, then yes. Of course.
“We know each other well, but it’s very difficult to predict a situation in a game. Every single game is different. We have to be ready for them, for him, and to try and eliminate their strengths and work on our own to be a success.”
Despite playing alongside Sturridge, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Nathaniel Clyne, and being a former team-mate of Raheem Sterling, Skrtel rejects the notion insider knowledge is the key to Slovakian success.
“I’m ready to answer all the questions if the manager or players ask me, but they haven’t asked me yet,” he said.
“I think we know them well, not only me but other players too.
“England have star players, so we all know them. We just have to take that knowledge into the game.
“Everyone knows about England’s qualities and strengths, which they proved in qualifying and in the first two matches.”
Skrtel’s Anfield association, which started in 2008, is widely expected to come to an end this summer with Roma the latest side linked with a transfer.
Skrtel was reluctant to entertain questions on his club future but when asked if a big showing against England could prolong his time at Liverpool, there was a resigned tone to his answer.
“I’m smiling because this question has nothing to do with the game,” he said.
“I’m fully focused on the national team and the game. Questions about my future, ask me after the Euros.
“But I don’t think one game can change a player’s career. One game can’t change that much but I’ll do my best to put in a good performance, to be successful.”