Sunday, April 11, 2021

Southgate´s picking from a lot of diamonds – Wright-Phillips confident England have firepower to com

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 31 Mar 2021

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England have the right squad composition to be a force at upcoming major tournaments, according to former Three Lions winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Gareth Southgate led his side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and England are among the bookmakers’ favourites for glory at the rescheduled Euro 2020 taking place between June and July this year.

The England boss has plenty of selection headaches to contend with, especially among attack-minded midfielders, where the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and James Maddison all harbour realistic hopes of making the squad.

Ex-Manchester City and Chelsea winger Wright-Phillips, a member of England’s 2010 World Cup squad, believes the strength in depth and unity among the team makes the Three Lions a force to be reckoned with.

Asked by Stats Perform News if England have the squad to compete for the biggest honours, he replied: “I think they do. A lot of them have played together in the Under-21s. 

“Some of them have even played together at clubs, they all get on very well, and they’re all pushing for the same thing. 

“I can’t see there being any divides in there, they’re all just happy to put on that shirt and represent their country. 

“I know for a fact that they will all give their all, and leave nothing left on the pitch, so from having that you’re batting in the right direction.”

He added: “I think all it takes for them is to get more confident and believe in themselves. 

“The firepower that we’ve got up top, it’s exciting times, especially for England and tough choices for Southgate, which everybody as a manager would love to be able to pick from so many talented attacking players. 

“He’s picking from a lot of diamonds, and hopefully he picks the right one and gets all the cogs in the clock working right.”

England are in World Cup qualification action on Wednesday, having started by taking six points from matches against San Marino and Albania.

On paper, Southgate’s side face a sterner test of their credentials against Poland, but the visitors at Wembley are without talisman Robert Lewandowski due to a knee injury while their squad has been hit by a spate of positive COVID-19 tests.

“They’ve had two games so far that people have expected them to win, but they can sometimes be banana skins, and they’ve gone out there and put on a performance, been professionals and got the job done,” he said. 

“The game against Poland will be a slightly different match, Lewandowski’s injured.

“But even then Poland will be a much stiffer task to deal with. Let’s see if they can pull through that, if they just keep moving along slowly, keep getting the job done, professionally.”

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