Lineker and Shearer give their verdicts on England's Euro 2020 chances ahead of Croatia showdown

Posted on: 2021-06-11 09:14:18

Gareth Southgate’s side are in action at Wembley on Sunday, with the former Three Lions strikers believing they can have a positive tournament

Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer are confident England’s talented squad can take them to the latter stages of the European Championship, although they are concerned that defensive issues may haunt the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate’s side kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on June 13 as they face Croatia – who knocked them out at the semi-final stage of the 2018 World Cup – at Wembley.

The Three Lions have a number of talented young forward players, raising expectations that they are capable of a strong tournament, with Lineker and Shearer excited by the potential of the squad.

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What has Lineker said?

Discussing England’s chances, Lineker told Goal: “Expectation is enjoyable, I know sometimes it is the hope that kills you but for the first time in a long time, England have a squad that can compete. I know we got to the semi-final three years ago but we got a bit lucky with the draw and all that. It was still a good performance.

“There may be a bit of inexperience overall and we may be a bit light in certain positions – central defence and in goal – but that aside, we have some fabulous talents at full-back, in midfield and in the forward positions.

“Also, for the first time in a long time, we have strength in depth and that’s important. In what’s been a long season, he [manager Gareth Southgate] can rotate. People keep saying ‘what’s his best XI?’ I don’t think he knows himself and I don’t think there will be a consistent starting XI particularly due to the talent in forward areas.

“I think he will be able to bring on substitutes of equal quality which will be very important. I think the future is very bright for England. This summer might be too early, but the group stage should be comfortable.

“After that, the draw will be very difficult. It could be one of France, Portugal or Germany. We’ll see and I think with so much talent, they should do well.”

England fixtures Euro 2020

What has Shearer said?

Shearer told Goal when asked about England’s prospects at Euro 2020: “There’s always expectation with England and what we have in this country but it might be a little bit more than previous tournaments.

“We did get to the semi-final of the World Cup, albeit with a friendlier route, but with the talent that we have got in this England squad, it is the best we have had for a long time.

“That’s especially true in the forward positions, adding [Mason] Mount, [Phil] Foden, [Jadon] Sancho, [Jack] Grealish and [Marcus] Rashford to Harry Kane. That’s some serious talent in that position.

“I don’t think scoring and creating goals will be a problem but my slight concern is at the other end in terms of defensively. The further we go in the tournament, can we keep them out?”

“There weren’t many great things to come out of Covid but it is a year on and these players like Foden and Mount have another year under their belts. I think they will play a huge part in anything England do this summer.

“There’s no doubt that in those players, they will unlock the door. They have had amazing seasons and went head-to-head in the Champions League final. That’s serious talent and these are guys who can pick a pass. You need that to open up defences at that level.

“France will be favourites and rightly so, when you look at some of the players that they have in their squad. [Kylian] Mbappe, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Paul] Pogba and they have just added [Karim] Benzema.

“Whoever finishes ahead of France will win it I think. I know they are in a tough group with Germany and Portugal and maybe England will face one of those teams in the next round, given our group.”

Lineker and Shearer are part of the BBC football team. Follow Euro 2020 on the BBC across TV, radio and online this summer.

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