JOE HART today insisted there was no point trying to wind up Mario Balotelli in England's quarter-final showdown with Italy on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Hart suggested Manchester City team-mate Balotelli was more likely to lose the plot as a result of off-field issues than any other mind games.
He said: "I don't think it's particularly on-field people who push his buttons. If anything were to happen, it's usually situations around it."
And there are certainly plenty of potential "situations" when it comes to Balotelli, who has become one of the most talked about and written about players in the game.
The 21-year-old has found himself on the front pages of news- papers as often as the back, and it has become increasingly difficult to determine where the truth ends and the legend starts.
"He's quite an extravagant guy," Hart said. "I think Mario accepts, with the way he is, that sometimes he's going to bring attention to himself.
"But he has got broad shoulders and what- ever's written about him will not affect him, I know that.
"He wasn't bothered that things were made up about him because he lets things just kind of slide off.
"He is what he is.There's no acting with him. He just does as he does. And when he's on form football-wise, he's a great player."
Hart added: "He could be a great threat. He's a great player but, as well as me knowing him, more importantly Joleon [Lescott] knows him.
"We don't fear anyone. We've not come here to fear anyone or be inferior. We are a good team and we're here to do well."
Hart, meanwhile has revealed he would be happy to take a spot-kick if the match goes all the way of penalties, saying: "I would back myself (to take a penalty) in a tournament).