England can go all the way - 09/06/2004

England can go all the way
Rooney - saint of sinner?

I honestly believe that England can win Euro 2004. We’ve a great chance and although the tournament starts for us against the favourites, I think our opening game has a draw written all over it. We‘ll then fight it out with Switzerland and Croatia - a fight that we’ll win!

My only fear is that we’re capable of individual inconsistencies. If the team is to succeed, then everyone has to be playing either to their full potential, or atleast very close to it!!! We have players who can be a little ‘in and out’, and I feel the French in particular will have an edge as they’ll have learnt from their World Cup disaster and their focus will be great.

As the tournament progresses, so will our strength and confidence. We’ll certainly be a little wary of France, but with the following games under our belt, we’ll get better the further we go.

Much has been made of the formation we’ll play, for me it has to be 4-4-2, players like to keep it simple and the diamond/Christmas tree formation never feels comfortable. We need to play with two left footers and two right footers on either flank, and we’ll have a balanced side able to play to our strengths.

People ask me who’s the most crucial player to England, and my reply quite often surprises them. Wayne Rooney holds the key, we know what to expect from Owen, Gerrard, Beckham and co., but if the young Scouser can do the business for us, then we’ll be a tremendous force. Rooney is exactly the type of player I’ve referred to above…he could be brilliant and grab a hat-trick, or play within himself and perhaps even get sent-off. Other teams will test his discipline and if he can come through that examination, and also get amongst the goals…he’ll be the hero of the country.


I’m off to Singapore tomorrow to cover the tournament for ESPN. In total I’m out there for four weeks and I’ll be watching just about every game. Let’s just hope that I see England play more than any other nation and that it’ll be a Real Madrid player - other than Zidane - lifting the cup on the 4th of July.

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