Dimitar Berbatov: I have to back my country against England

Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov
Krasimir Balakov is, like Berbatov, a Bulgarian legend

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov is the perfect person to read on England v Bulgaria. Here the country's all-time top goalscorer discusses Saturday's match and his coaching future...

"I’m doing my coaching badges at the moment. I’m going to take my A licence. It’s going to be interesting to see where life takes me. Would I like to manage Bulgaria one day? You never know."

I'm looking forward to being at Wembley on Saturday to watch Bulgaria play England. The hosts are overwhelming favourites because they have world class players, but miracles happen in football. I support my country and know our players will give it their best.


Young Bulgarians have great spirit

This is a relatively young Bulgarian team. It isn't dominated by one outstanding player, like Histro Stoichkov back in the day, or when I was in the team, but there is a very promising 22-year-old, Kiril Despodov, who won Player of the Year in Bulgaria last season and is now playing in Italy for Cagliari. Despodov could hurt England with his speed and tricks on the ball, so England's defenders need to watch out for him.

What I like most about this Bulgarian team is their excellent spirit. In the past, England haven't coped with the pressure of playing at Wembley, Bulgaria team know that and will pounce on any mistakes. The key to our chances is concentration.

The coach Krasimir Balakov is a national legend, a member of the team that finished fourth at USA 94 and one of our greatest players. I know him well and had the pleasure of playing with him for the national team. He only took over as coach this year, so it's too early to judge him, but I really want Balakov to succeed in the job. We're in a difficult qualifying group for Euro 2020 and, if the players give 100%, the fans can't ask for more.

England have amazing potential

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Raheem Sterling's development over the past couple of seasons has been incredible and he is now a vital player for England. Then you have Harry Kane, the captain and main man, while Jadon Sancho is also getting better and could be the final piece in a three-pronged attack that will cause problems for any defence.

But it's not only in attack where Gareth Southgate's England are strong. There's great balance throughout the side, with a new generation coming through to add creativity to midfield, and a settled defence.

This England team can compete with any opponent and that's why they're top of the group and second favourites behind France to win Euro 2020. The question for England is can they develop the consistency to fulfil their amazing potential? I hope they can.

Backing my country with a brave bet

I need to support my country but I am also a realist. Bulgaria is a small country and fans there love watching the Premier League. Playing at Wembley is a big deal for our young squad and we have enormous respect for England.

But the moment they set foot on the pitch, Bulgaria will forget about respect and go out to do their job. They're underdogs and it will be difficult. The last couple of matches between the countries, England have won 4-0 and 3-0. As one of only two Bulgarians to ever score at Wembley, I would love for us to find the net on Saturday and I'm willing to bet on it. In my wildest dreams, I would like us to win it, but I will back the draw. It's a brave bet but I need to get behind my team.

Would I like to manage Bulgaria? We'll see

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I made nearly 80 appearances for my country and pulling on the shirt was always an enormous honour. I take immense pride in being Bulgaria's all-time top goalscorer, although I'd be pleased to see somebody come along and surpass my record of 48 goals.

The team's results are always more important than individual achievements and the highlight of my international career was when we qualified for Euro 2004 in Portugal.

As for my future, I'm doing my coaching badges at the moment. I'm going to take my A licence. It's going to be interesting to see where life takes me. Would I like to manage Bulgaria one day? You never know. If I'm in the coaching business, and one day the national team comes and asks for me, we'll see what happens.

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