You’ll never win anything with kids. Those famous words, the words that Alan Hansen was made to eat as Manchester United went on to lift the title with the class of ’92 have lived long in the memory.
But it’s not just football pundits echoing that opinion this time around. Apparently the entire British Government thinks that the Three Lions are destined for failure in Brazil.
But whilst Whitehall may be setting their stall out against Hodgson and his young guns, are the reasons for all this negatively justified?
Could the image of a 20-year-old Ross Barkley marauding through the heart of a Uruguayan defence give the nation reason to be enthusiastic? Could the prospect of Raheem Sterling bursting beyond Ignazio Abate maybe make England fans a little bit excited?
We think it could, and should.
According to a British Government document analysing the arguments for and against allowing pubs the right to obtain a late licence over the tournament, ministers suggest that England have a 54% chance of progressing through the group stage, with only an 11% chance of making the Quarter Finals.
Of course, you’d have to be an eternally optimistic English supporter to think the Three Lions will advance any further than that, but reaching the last eight-as England have done in most of the previous World Cup tournaments- is more than a distinct possibility.
It’s likely that pace will have a huge part to play in Brazil this summer, with the sweltering heat set to cause havoc with International defences, and the England forwards will no doubt be queuing up to exploit that factor.
Shaw, Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, Welbeck and Sturridge all have speed in abundance; the ability to stretch tired defensives that many opponents should be wary of.
The inclusion of these players has certainly divided opinions.
Many pundits have adopted ‘Fearlessness’ as a buzzword and let’s not forget that most of Roy Hodgson’s young squad have not experienced the crushing pain of a penalty shootout defeat (not yet anyway).
However, there is the question of experience. Aside from Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney the rest of the England camp have little or no major tournament experience between them. When they come up against the disciplined tournament specialists Italy, that deficiency could become exposed.
The man at the helm sounds upbeat regardless.
“They’ve imposed themselves upon me. They’ve played so well, done so well, been so effective for their club teams and had such success, they’ve imposed their ability on my thinking.
“You can’t ignore what people are doing on a week-to-week, day-to-day basis for their club sides.” Hodgson said in a recent press conference.
It’s hard to find fault in those sentiments. The Premier League is the most competitive in the World and these young lads have done nothing but impress. Why can’t their domestic form be replicated on the world stage? Why are the British Government so confident in marking their chances of making the Quarter Finals at just 11%?
England fans have a right to be optimistic this summer. Rarely have so many players headed into a major tournament in such good form and that opinion is reflected via most England World Cup betting tips.
Group D is undoubtedly one of the toughest groups in the tournament this year, but it’s certainly one England are capable of getting through. A win and a draw could see the 1966 winners through to face an easier tie in the second round and from there, who knows how far they could go?