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World Cup: Young Lions are not quite ready to roar

The New Paper | Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

No European team have won the World Cup in South America and it will be very difficult for teams like England, my country, to actually win it.

I believe the Three Lions are a side in transition from the "Golden Generation", with most of those either finished or coming to the end of their careers, and a group who have not reached their prime yet.

So they have got to be realistic. This World Cup will be about nurturing young talent, telling them to go for it and enjoy it.

What Roy Hodgson will have is a group of genuinely exciting young players.

Ones who are not stained by previousWorld Cups - they are not scarred by losing a penalty shootout! There are guys like Raheem Sterling, a breathtaking footballer.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he is the best young talent in Europe, and I do not think he was exaggerating.

His Anfield teammate Daniel Sturridge has come on as a proven goalscorer, and has got that degree of arrogance which you need to score goals in that position. Then you have Everton's Ross Barkley, who is a massive talent.

I feel he could emerge as a potential star of the tournament, and I can see certain things in his game similar to Paul Gascoigne.

He is incredibly strong, and he has got a similar stature to Gazza, with that ability to score amazing goals.

So while I am not going to say Barkley is "the next Gazza", I think there are two or three who could impress as Gazza did for us at Italia '90.

The thing youdon't find out until the tournament is if these guys can cope with the pressures of playing against the world's greatest players.

This lot seem to be coping admirably in the Premier League, so let's find out.

Gary Lineker-ENGLAND’S RECORD WORLD CUP GOALSCORER


This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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