With just one week until the beginning of the European Championships – Euro 2020 – Wales, England and Scotland legends; Ian Rush, Emile Heskey and Alan McInAlly have been talking up their respective home national teams’ chances of achieving great feats.
In an exclusive interview with Bookmakers.co.uk, Rush, Heskey and McInally preview the Euro 2020 action, giving their thoughts on their respective country’s chances in the group stages and beyond, provide analysis of the 26-man squads and name their staring XI’s.
Rush played 73 times for Wales and netted 28 goal, but the Liverpool legend couldn’t help his national team qualify for European Championship during his playing days. But in this interview, he believes that the nation can surpass their 2016 semifinal feat at Euro 2020.
Heskey played 62 games for England and scored eight goals. He represented his country at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004 . The Three Lions have never won the European championship, and have never reached the final. However, Heskey says the lions are on the prowl again, with ambition of winning the Euro 2020 title.
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McInAlly who was capped eight times by Scotland with three international goals, playedat the 1990 FIFA World Cup, but without European Championship experience. Now he wishes that the current squad could rewrite the Tartan Army’s European Championship history at Euro 2020.
Ian Rush On Wales’ Chances
“Yes, I think they can escape from Group A… Italy are favourites
to win the group, we all know that, but when you look at Switzerland
and Turkey – add Wales to that and I think any one of those three can
qualify and I would expect Wales to qualify… I think the attacking
side of Wales could be the difference and I’m really looking forward
to Wales playing these games.
“Wales have got to go and take the game to Switzerland and I think they can do that – they’ve got the attacking players to do that and if they get 3 points there they can easily qualify.
Q: Why don’t Wales get the respect they deserve?
A: “Because they’re Welsh!!! We have to bring Wales to Europe… we got to the semi-finals in 2016 and we have to start making a name for ourselves now and with the young players we’ve got and experienced players we have, I think we can actually do that – but you only do that by winning games at Euros.”
On Ethan Ampadu, Rush said: “I’m the Elite Performance Director of the Welsh FA Trust – I had him when he was 14/15 years old, and he stood out then. When he was at Exeter, he stood out then; and he’s grown into a man now. With him and Joe Allen’s experience in holding
midfield, I think you’ve got quite a tight midfield – Ampadu has done
absolutely fantastic this year.”
Ian Rush’s Wales Euro 2020 Starting XI: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ampadu, Allen, Williams; Bale, James, Ramsey.
Heskey On England’s Chances
“Going into any tournament, England have strong ambitions to win
the tournament; there’s a lot of pressure on England sides and this is
exactly the same. As you look at the group, we should be topping it,
but these games are not easy, they’re never going to be.
“One thing you’ve got to do is fit the players in and have balance; having 4 fullbacks was a little bit strange for me, where you could have had a more attacking player coming in for one of the four [right-sided] fullbacks.”
“Picking players when they’re not fully fit and not picking players when they’ve had probably the season of their life? When you’re looking at Jesse Lingard who’s done fantastic, taking West Ham
to heights that you probably wouldn’t have foreseen twelve months ago
and scoring goals that he didn’t realise he had in him…you want to pick people on performance and merit.
“When you look at the season Phil Foden has had, he’s fantastic – I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. I’ve seen him play as a false-nine and thought he was very, very good at doing that Mason Mount has had an absolutely fabulous season considering the criticism he had when Frank Lampard was in charge; to come out as he has and be a main stayer and talisman in that [Chelsea] team and at such a big club is fantastic… Jack Grealish is coming back – we all know what Jack Grealish can do, we all know what he’s capable of, but having him there and having the opportunity to
call upon someone like that is fantastic.
Heskey’s England Euro 2020 Starting XI: Pickford; James, Walker, Stones, Chilwell; Rice, Phillips; Grealish, Foden, Mount; Kane.
Alan McInAlly On Scotland’s Chances
“We’re definitely not there to make up the numbers, for sure… this might be the first time that these lads can say: we got our nation out of the group.
“With Tierney and Robertson, we have one of the best left flanks in the group stages, we really do: both are
international football players, both are at the top level domestically.
“I think we might surprise a few people… this is not the Croatia who were runners-up in the World Cup a few years ago, they’re really not, and I think we have an outstanding chance to go through to the knockout stages along with England.
McInally’s Scotlad Euro 2020 Starting XI: Marshall; Tierney, Hanley, Hendry; McGinn, McTominay; Robertson, O’Donnell; Christie, Armstrong, Dykes.
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