WAYNE ROONEY has THREE major concerns for Gareth Southgate’s England team heading into Euro 2020.
The Three Lions will be without Rooney for a European Championships for the first time in 21 years this summer.
And while many are tipping England as one of the favourites for the competition, the country’s record goalscorer Rooney has doubts over their experience at a major tournament, potential complacency and injuries to key players such as Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson.
Speaking in his column for The Times, Rooney said: “One of the doubts I have about England is that they’re a young squad, who lack knowhow.
“I also worry that complacency could creep in, because England’s group is not as straightforward as people seem to think.
“Croatia beat England in 2018 and have tournament knowledge and some very good, experienced players. Scotland will be tough, compact and difficult to beat.
“For England, qualifying might even come down to the last group match against Czech Republic.
“I do think they’ll progress, however, and playing at Wembley will be a huge advantage. As I said last week, it is so important that Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson are fit because along with Harry Kane they form the backbone of the side, the ones who others on the pitch will look to for leadership.
“If Maguire and Henderson aren’t ready for the first game, things could get tricky for England because it’s hard for a player to get up to speed once a tournament is under way.
He continued: “I had to try that in 2006 and 2012 and 2006 was particularly challenging because I’d missed a lot of training through injury.
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“You miss the rhythm in your game, that final 5 per cent which is the difference between fitness and match fitness.
“You do everything in training, you feel good but then you’re thrown into a tournament game and things feel very different. It’s the expectation, the pressure, the build-up — it all takes a lot out of you and if you’re not fully fit you get found out. You also try too hard.”
Henderson has now returned to full training and is still hoping to feature in the first group game against Croatia on June 13.
But Maguire remains a major doubt for the start of the tournament as he continues his recovery from ankle ligament damage.
Meanwhile, Rooney feels world champions France are the team to beat at Euro 2020.
And he puts a huge amount of their formidability down to the role of Chelsea’s Champions League hero N’Golo Kante.
Rooney added: “France have perhaps the ultimate team player in Kanté. In the Champions League final, he gave the perfect performance. He does everything: breaks up play but then plays in tight areas and starts off the attack.
“You used to see it with Yaya Touré, how he would get the ball and burst forward with it and it is so hard to defend against. Kanté does all that but also protects his defence like Claude Makélélé once did — only better.
“It’s unbelievable to have a footballer who is Touré and Makélélé rolled into one — and then there’s Kanté’s energy. At Chelsea, you see his energy bringing a lot out of the other players.
“Whenever Kanté bursts forward you’ll see two or three of them bursting forward too, not worried about leaving their positions because if the ball is turned over they know he’s going to get back in shape and break up the counter-attack. For me he is the best midfielder in the world.”
The Euros gets underway on Friday when Turkey take on 2006 World Cup winners Italy.
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