WE have been here before — but I have never been so certain as I am right now, this time England really CAN go all the way.
In fact never mind can, I honestly believe we WILL. So much so that I’ll genuinely be very disappointed if we don’t win the Euros.
Not a brave defeat in the semi-finals, another near miss and ‘what if’ — but the sight of Harry Kane lifting the trophy at Wembley on July 11.
We all know there hasn’t been much to smile about over the last 15 months, so what better way to give the whole country a lift?
I really do think it’s our time at long, long last.
I actually thought we had a great chance at the last World Cup, the way the draw panned out. Playing Croatia to get to the final?
You’d have taken that.
No disrespect, but if we had a player like Luka Modric in our side, I really think we’d have won that.
It was such a brilliant opportunity for us.
Well now we’ve got another, and an even bigger one, it’s incredible really.
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Gareth Southgate has so many fantastic players to choose from, there is a lot going in our favour.
I am so confident that going out in the last four is not going to be good enough for me.
We’re at home, have so much depth in the squad, we’re in a decent group, so it’s our tournament to win.
There will never be a better chance for us. We really should be the favourites.
People go, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t say that, don’t put pressure on them,’ but they’ve got to handle it.
If they can’t cope with anyone saying it, how are they going to cope when it comes to actually doing it?
We’re talking about Champions League winners, Premier League winners, LaLiga winners here, nothing will faze them.
I do love Mason Mount, I think he’s got a great attitude. And as for Phil Foden? What a talent, he’s real quality.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see one of those two really take this tournament by the scruff of the neck.
Reece James is another who I rate very highly indeed. Wing-back, right-back, right-sided centre-back, he has impressed me wherever he’s played.
‘SOUTHGATE IS SPOILED FOR CHOICE’
Then you’ve got Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, another who looks absolutely sensational. I’ve never known an England manager who is so spoiled for choice.
And I have not even mentioned Jack Grealish, who is fantastic, although I’m still not sure Gareth is 100 per cent convinced and a total fan.
Look at that 26, even with a couple injured at the moment. There is cover — and very good cover — in every position.
I do have a bit of a worry in defence at times. Although the full-backs are fine plus Harry Maguire, when he recovers, and John Stones are a good partnership.
I’m just still not 100 per cent about the goalkeeper — but you’re never going to be perfect everywhere, so it is still a very, very strong side.
And then you look around at all the opposition and there isn’t a single team in there where you think, ‘My God, how good are they?’
Belgium are the top-rated side in the world but with the greatest of respect, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld as centre-backs? That doesn’t scare me.
Yes, Kevin De Bruyne is a great player, but you take him out of that team and we are certainly as good as them. Better, in my opinion.
The lad from Leicester, Youri Tielemans, is a decent player and of course we know what Romelu Lukaku can do.
But if you’re talking centre-forwards, no team has a better one than Harry Kane — and I include France in that.
‘EVERYTHING IS IN ENGLAND’S FAVOUR’
Everyone is raving about Portugal and there is no doubt they’ve got some very talented players.
Ruben Dias had a great season with Manchester City, so did Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United, but they’ve also got Pepe and Jose Fonte in there, who are nearly as old as me!
I do wonder about their depth beyond the first choices. And you are going to need your squad, no one is winning this with just 11 players.
So it isn’t just wild optimism or blind faith. Everything is in England’s favour and I can’t see anything to stop us.
And let’s be honest — we’ve waited long enough!
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