Glenn Hoddle Exclusive: Opponents will fear England at Euro 2020

England captain Harry Kane
England captain Harry Kane is one of the world's best strikers

We're delighted to announce that Glenn Hoddle will be providing unrivalled tactical and managerial insight for Betfair throughout Euro 2020. In his first column the former-England manager looks at Gareth Southgate's selection quandaries...

"Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and we have some brilliant young creators coming through. Opponents will respect England and they will fear them. I put France as favourites but, on their day, England can beat them."

Southgate's 33-man squad makes sense

Looking at it from a manager's point of view, Gareth Southgate had no other option than to name a preliminary squad. I was a little surprised that he was going to name the final squad before the European finals because there are a lot of English players involved in them. The last thing Gareth wants is injuries, but this might have worked in his favour given that he now has a bit more time. It's the logical thing to do.

He will be a little nervous this week. I have been in those shoes before and you have your fingers, legs, everything crossed all through the final part of the season. He will be delighted for the English clubs getting to the European finals. But for the England manager it's the last thing you want because of the risk of injuries.

When you're going into a major tournament, the greatest thing you can have is clarity. That way, you can pick your squad and the players that know they won't make it can go off on holiday. Then you can concentrate on the main event, getting the team together, but now Gareth is going to have to wait to do that and that will be frustrating for him.

Dunk and Bamford were surprising omissions

I was surprised to see that Lewis Dunk and Patrick Bamford were both missing off the preliminary squad list, for me, both of them players deserved to be on there. Dunk could be the perfect replacement for Harry Maguire. The Brighton man has the presence and the physique for the task. He has played in a back three and done very well for his club and he is also a good user of the ball.

I have also been a great fan of James Maddison this season, but I think his injuries have hindered him in the long term. I don't think he did himself any favours off the pitch on a couple of occasions, and that has an influence on selection too. As the manager, you have to look at a player's character as well as their ability.

Maddison will be there again in the future because he is such a good player. We have an abundance of those types of players at the moment, which is unfortunate for Maddison, but a lovely position for Gareth to be in.

If Maguire isn't going to be fit for Croatia, he's not worth the risk

It is now going to be a juggling act for Southgate and he is going to have to assess players from afar. It doesn't look good at the moment for Harry Maguire. For Gareth, that could be a blessing in disguise in the sense that the player won't aggravate his injury and he may be fit enough to play for England. You also have to ask if his ankle will be anywhere near good enough in two or three weeks.

Gareth could end up leaving out Maguire if he thinks the player won't be fit enough for the Group games. Players will always say they are fit, and it is a difficult one for managers. If Gareth brings him and he isn't fit enough to play then its a very delicate one. Maguire isn't the only one as Kalvin Phillips is in the same position.

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I wouldn't take the risk with Maguire. If he isn't fit to train and play this week then England have to assess it. If it looks like he'll be fit in three weeks, when the tournament has already started, then you can't start the Euros like that without him, no way. If he was very close to playing, and he would be fit for next week, then you would put him in, so the communication has to be spot on between England and Manchester Untied.

Maguire has played a lot of football over the last two or three years. I don't think his match fitness will have dropped that much, and the rest may have done him some good. But he needs to get up and running before the tournament starts and, if he isn't going to be fit for the first match, then I wouldn't take him. I would give him every single minute I could for him to try to get himself ready and fit but it will be tight.

Picking an England squad is high pressured and you have to stand by your choices

It's a pressurised situation for the England manager, and it's a big decision. Whenever there's a major tournament, the whole country is involved, the nations' eyes are gazed on you and in some ways you become the most important person in the country for four or five weeks. That is where the pressure comes. In the end, you have to internalise it, look at the situation and be bold enough to make the decisions that are right for the team.

You have to be strong mentally. You can discuss things and get advice from your coaching staff but in the end the decision is yours and you have to have the strength of character to stand by it. Gareth showed at the World Cup that he has that quality.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you do it, but the aim is to get to the latter stages. Gareth did it in the last World Cup. In 1990, we weren't that great at the beginning of the tournament but we got there in the end and the country went mad, and rightly so. Gareth has earned the right to pick the team he wants and for the country to get behind him and the players. It's an exciting squad, especially going forward, if we are going to go on and win the tournament the only questions we will have to answer will be defensively against top teams.

Alexander-Arnold is England's best wing-back

Gareth has picked four right backs in his provisional squad, and there is an abundance of talent there. I think a lot will depend on what shape Gareth wants to play. Kyle Walker and Reece James have played in the right side of a three, so he has some options there. If Maguire is fit, John Stones can also play on the right side of a three.

For me the best wing-back we have is Trent Alexander-Arnold, going forward he is outstanding and has a lot of talent on the pitch. Kieran Trippier has also had a decent season and has won the league title in Spain.

Gareth will have to leave one of them out but, as for who that is, it will be will depend on the shape. If we're playing with a back four, I think Gareth will leave Alexander-Arnold out, but if its a three at the back then the Liverpool man has to have a place because going forward there's no one better.

England's attacking talent should be feared

Jude Bellingham has been named in the preliminary squad and he deserves to be there. He has shown so much maturity for a young kid to go and play as calmly as he does in the Bundesliga. He's actually quite astonishing. Many years ago when we won the World Cup, Sir Alf Ramsey said that Martin Peters was ahead of his time, and I think you can safely say the same about Bellingham.

The youngster has the composure of someone 10 years older than him. He shows great personality and character to cope with playing at such a high level and playing on this stage isn't going to faze him. I don't want to go over the top - he's only had two caps - and we have got to keep our feet on the ground, but Bellingham looks like a really good prospect and that's where we should be.

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If this was a German, French or Spanish squad and we were looking at these young players we would all be purring about them. We'd be scared of them. We tend to forget that and we need to be on the front foot given the crop of young attacking players we have. I've been there as a player and a manager, it's one thing for players doing it in your domestic league, they've now got to step up and feel comfortable doing it for England.

Those players - Bellingham, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho - look comfortable in their own skin. Sometimes players think that when they put the England shirt on they have to try a bit harder and it doesn't work. These guys just need to perform like they play for their clubs in the shape that the manager wants, so that they can go on and produce.

This is a key moment for them and I think this team will get better, in two or three years time this team will be very difficult to play against. I just worry about the defence.

Rice and Phillips give Gareth great midfield options

England's key player at the moment is Declan Rice. We need the balance he gives you, particularly against the better teams. He uses the ball better now and bursts past opponents. He's adding to his game all the time. He intercepts, tackles and has improved on the ball. If Phillips and Rice are both fit I don't think we'll miss Jordan Henderson. They could make a really good pairing. They're not just defensive players. They have ability to mix it up. Gareth has great options in midfield.

Leaving out Gazza in '98 was purely about fitness

Telling players they aren't in the squad is the tough side of the England job. I told them to their faces because that's what I would have wanted it as a player. Normally, when picking your squad, you'd decide who you wanted and think about who might come in for cover. The added complication Gareth has is that there are three or four fitness doubts. You try to cover every angle but you can't take for focus off what shape you're going to play and what your plan is. Whoever comes in will be able to adapt to however Gareth wants to play.

When I left Paul Gascoigne out in 1998 it was an easy decision to make in the end. I'd been speaking with him for six months about getting fit. He had a knee problem and then he got injured in a match we played in Morocco. We needed him to get through that game. The medical staff told me it would be three weeks before he was back. That would have been halfway through the tournament. The decision was just about his fitness. It was a bitter disappointment that he wasn't fit.

As an England manager you're leasing the car, you're not owning the car. I told Paul six months before that World Cup that he needed to be fitter than he'd ever been. At the time he was playing for Middlesbrough. By the end of the season he wasn't as fit as I wanted him. And then he got clobbered in Morocco. That made the decision for me. It was sad. But if you don't want to me tough decisions you shouldn't be England manager. Everyone will have an opinion about England and ups to you to make the big calls.

The toughest decisions for me in management were releasing young players and telling them they weren't going to get professional contracts.

Euro 2020 looks wide open but England are contenders

Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and we have some brilliant young creators coming through. Opponents will respect England and they will fear them. I put France as favourites but, on their day, England can beat France. Never count out Germany because, although they're not the force they have been, they're very good at tournaments.

Euro 2020 looks very open but we're in the leading bunch of teams that can win it. A lot can happen. Injuries can happen but you can also get luck. Look at 1966 when Jimmy Greaves got injured and Geoff Hurst came in. The manager has to be flexible and ready for things to happen.

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We're at Wembley, we won't have a full crowd, but playing at home is still a major advantage. We have to be on the front foot and give it our best shot. We can play it both ways. We can play a possession game but we can also hit the top teams on the counter. That might really suit us against the better teams.

Kane must sort his future ASAP

The key factor in Harry Kane's future is that he has three years left on his contract at Tottenham. If he only had a year or two left then I think it would be done and dusted that he'd leave them this summer. He would probably like to have it sorted out before the Euros but I don't think that will happen. That's unfortunate for England.

He could go to Manchester City. What would he achieve there, if he's already Premier League top goalscorer at Tottenham? I'd hate to think he'd go to Chelsea but I don't think Daniel Levy will let him go there instead of City or United. Kane has been brilliant for Spurs and it really is a sad situation. Tottenham only really have themselves to blame for not building on the season when they go to the Champions League final.

You can't say that Kane won't be distracted by his future at the Euros. On the pitch, he'll be focused but, in between games in the hotel, it may be a different matter. There will be phone calls and other communications about it. It's human nature that Harry will think about his future. After the Euros, the new season will be on us before we know it.

Levy needs to eat humble pie to get Poch back

There are lots of people being linked to Spurs. It hasn't gone very well for Mauricio Pochettino at PSG but Daniel would need to be a big man to go to Pochettino and say: "I shouldn't have sacked you." That's the key to it, whether Daniel can do that.

My concern would be that he hasn't won Ligue 1 with PSG. Roberto Martinez is another candidate but he will be concentrating on the Euros with Belgium. Daniel has a tough job to find the right manager for Spurs but he's given himself that job.

Foden and Mount can decide Champions League final

Chelsea are a very good side when they go 1-0 up. The first goal has never been more important than it will be in the Champions League final. Chelsea have problems when they go behind. If Chelsea go ahead they can win this game.

Thomas Tuchel seems to have Pep Guardiola's number but you don't rely on that as a manager. To beat City three times in a season - following Tuchel's wins over Guardiola in the FA Cup and Premier League - is not going to be easy.

Phil Foden and Mason Mount will both have a big influence on the game. The two England teammates will be kicking lumps out of each other for one night only and, for whoever wins, it will be a massive confidence boost going into the Euros. Even if you lose, it's a great experience for a young player in a Champions League final. Both players will gain from playing in the final.

I'm really looking forward to watching these two lads. What an exciting time for them.

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