David Beckham reckons England have a fantastic chance of lifting their first World Cup since 1966, with his belief stemming from watching two attacking players from the same Premier League club.
England made a mockery of their dismal pre-tournament form when opening their World Cup campaign with a 6-2 demolition of Iran.
The Three Lions hadn’t won in six matches leading up to Qatar. A 4-0 defeat to Hungary during that stretch was arguably the low point in Gareth Southgate’s tenure.
However, England still entered the World Cup among the favourites and justified that tag with a punishing victory against Iran.
Next up is the USA on Friday night, with Southgate expected to name an unchanged line-up.
Speaking to talkSPORT, former England captain, David Beckham, weighed in on the nation’s chances.
Firstly, running the rule over what he saw against Iran, the 115-times capped ex-winger said: “The England team are in good shape.
“We had a great start to the tournament and the lads are feeling good, they are looking good.
“The atmosphere is great between them all and the fans are feeling that so fans are reacting to that. The excitement will now be building towards this game tonight.”
Beckham highlights two England attackers
England’s only past World Cup success came 56 years ago on home soil.
They reached the semi-finals in both 1990 and 2018, though 2022 arguably represents their best chance to date since Alf Ramsay’s heroes of ’66.
When asked if England have a great opportunity this time around, Beckham suggested they do, and picked out two players who are the catalyst behind his belief.
Phil Foden is arguably one of the finest attacking talents England have produced in recent memory. Yet for Southgate on matchday one, the Man City ace was left on the bench.
So too was £100m City teammate Jack Grealish, with Arsenal’s red-hot Bukayo Saka and Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling instead preferred on the wings.
Southgate has an embarrassment of riches in the final third and it’s that strength in depth that Beckham believes gives England a fantastic chance in a tournament that’s even more condensed than usual.
“Yeah we have [a great chance],” said Beckham. “It is a great opportunity for many of the players.
“You saw the other night, we have a strong starting eleven but it is not just about the starting eleven, we have a strong bench.
“When you see Jack [Grealish] and when you see Phil [Foden] come off the bench, those things are important in a tournament like this and I am excited about tonight.”