Former England striker Teddy Sheringham has backed Roy Hodgson to lead the team to a successful Euro 2012 campaign.
After replacing Fabio Capello at the end of April, the former West Brom boss won his first game in charge against Norway on May 26, but his side face a sterner test on Saturday in their final warm-up match against a Belgium side packed with top-class players.
With their opening encounter against France on June 11 fast approaching Sheringham, who scored 11 goals for England in 51 appearances, feels another victory would be a major boost ahead of the showdown with Laurent Blanc’s side in Donetsk.
“I don’t think we played great against Norway, but there was an understanding of what the manager wanted,” he told Goal.com.
“If he can get that across even more so in training and if we get a good result on Saturday, that will breed even more confidence.
“Then, England could go into a major competition where not a lot is expected and sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised.
“Let’s go into it with a not-so-optimistic view and see where it takes us this time.”
The withdrawals of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard through injury have left Hodgson short of experience in central midfield.
Captain Steven Gerrard started alongside Tottenham’s Scott Parker against Norway and Sheringham said their influence on some of the team’s younger players could be vital.
“In any tournament you have got to have a gel. It is not all about youngsters and it is not all about experience,” he said.
“It’s about keeping the ball, making the other team work because we’re always chasing the ball. It’s amazing how you feel tired when you’re chasing the ball but when the other team are chasing it then they feel tired.
“Hopefully Gerrard can play in central midfield and get forward as well because he has got the legs, he can get forward – he can play anywhere, the way I see it. He’s one of our world-class players, a fantastic player.
“I’m glad he’s captain to give him a bit of confidence to say to him: ‘Stevie, you’re the main man, go out there and show it’.”
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