Chile winger Alexis Sanchez has dismissed “soft” England’s chances of winning the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.
The Barcelona forward will line up against Roy Hodgson’s side in a friendly at Wembley on Friday, as both sides begin to gear up for next year’s tournament.
However, Sanchez does not rate England as a contender to lift the trophy.
He told the Daily Express: “I don’t think England can win the World Cup.
“They have some very good players but are probably not at the level where they can beat the best.
“I do like Wayne Rooney. Of course, technically he is a very good player, but I also like his determination and resilience. I respect the way that he approaches the games.
“It will be very hard for any team outside of South America to win in Brazil, but if two teams have a chance, then it is Spain and Germany. Their teams are exceptional.”
Sanchez also believes young English players have it too easy when they are making their way in the game.
He added: “We are a tougher team than England. The problem for teams like England is that everything is so easy for them. They join these academies at maybe 10 or 11 years old and everything is done for them.
“They are so modern and the players are looked after, it is not just England but many European nations.
“I used to wash cars for such little money just so I had enough money to buy my football boots. When you are at academies like Manchester United and Arsenal, then everything is just given to you.
“With countries like England, if you don’t make it as a professional football player then there are still many other opportunities, and you still have a chance to live a good life.
“My family was so poor that football for me was about survival. I told my mother from a young age, ‘Don’t worry, I will become a football player and get us out of this situation’.
“If I had failed, I would be working 15-hour days on construction sites and still not be earning enough to live. Football saved me, and I don’t think any England players could say that.
“It is not the fault of England or other European teams they did not grow up in an environment like that, but having everything so easy made them soft.”