David James does not believe England have the required quality to win the European Championships next year in France.
The former England international, who was selected for three World Cups and Euro 2004, feels the current crop will be outmatched when facing sides like Germany and Spain – who beat England 2-0 in a friendly last week.
James has complete faith in manager Roy Hodgson and sees plenty of reasons to be positive after an impressive qualifying campaign, but he feels they are not ready to be serious contenders yet.
“I want to say ‘We can do well if everything goes our way’ but it’s a cliched remark which basically means not a lot. I don’t think England are ready to win the Euros,” James said.
“When you look at Germany, Spain, sides that are experienced, still got the nucleus of strong and very accomplished sides and I’m not sure England are at that level at the moment.
“I love Roy Hodgson, I think he’s a wonderful manager. Qualifying was good, 100 per cent you can’t beat that, of course, but it’s the different opposition, and being used to that tournament environment.”
Regardless of his concerns, James remains excited about the young talents in Hodgson’s team and believes that the fearlessness of someone like Ross Barkley could be a massive bonus at Euro 2016.
“I’d like to see youngsters like Barkley getting a chance if they’re performing as well as they can be,” he said.
“It might be one of the youngsters who, a bit like Wayne Rooney in his young days, when they’re fearless they take it by the scruff of the neck. A couple more Wayne Rooneys and we might have won the Euros back in 2004, who knows?”