Being honest with you, Roy Hodgson wasn’t my choice for England manger. I wanted Harry Redknapp, like about 80 per cent of the English public. But Hodgson is there now and we’re all going to get behind him. On paper, the squad doesn’t look so bad, but we all know good and well that paper teams don’t win tournaments.
It was good to see Danny Welbeck scoring against Belgium. That will give him much-needed confidence and that’s everything for a striker. Because although Welbeck and Jermain Defoe started the last Premier League season well, their form dwindled. The form of this England team is not unbelievable. And many people are saying there are less expectations of this England team. I don’t agree with that.
Any tournament we go into, England are one of the favourites, whether you like that or not. It’s the way it is. If the players keep putting themselves down, saying there’s not a lot expected, that’s only good for them. The public thinks they’ll still do well. For me, they’ll struggle.
Scoring goals without Wayne Rooney for the first two games could be England’s big problem. Welbeck is not prolific. Andy Carroll is not prolific. He finished the season superbly and was a handful for Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. But missing Rooney, who is by far England’s best player, they are going to struggle.
Rooney is the man to score the goals. His form for Manchester United was good. He’s banned of course, for the first two games, but he’s rightly in the squad because England expects to progress through the group. For everybody’s sake I hope they do, because every major tournament deserves to see a player like Wayne Rooney.
Ukraine have home advantage. Sweden are England’s bogey team. England got their first win against Sweden since 1968 in a 1-0 victory at Wembley last November. We always seem to do badly against them. It kills me to say it, but England will struggle to get out of this group. France will win the group. England will have a fight to finish second.
As for tonight. It’s a huge game. The French team look strong all over the pitch. The England team have a lot of injuries. To beat France every England player needs to be top of his game. I’d settle for a draw. But I’m thinking 1-0, or 2-0 to France.