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Full-time Fletch... on England's Euro 2016 hopes

By Darren Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

"England really have nothing to fear. Why can’t we go and win the tournament?"
"England really have nothing to fear. Why can’t we go and win the tournament?"

Related tags Manchester united f.c. Association football England

BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher previews England’s Euro 2016 tournament chances ahead of the big kick-off this weekend.

I know there was heavy criticism of England’s performance against Portugal last week but I think people need a reality check. It was the final warm-up game, no one wanted to get injured ahead of the tournament and it was more about giving the players a decent run out.

So while I think the criticism was a bit of an overreaction, there are still questions around England’s formation and how manager Roy Hodgson can get the best out of players.


I’ll be surprised if Jamie Vardy starts against Russia on Saturday. I like to see England with two strikers up top but Harry Kane and Vardy have only had limited playing time together. Roy is historically a cautious manager who is known for not taking too many chances – and I don’t see him changing that approach on the eve of a major tournament.

I think Vardy can be better deployed in making an impact off the bench. The first game this weekend against Russia will be very cagey with both sides not wanting to lose, so there probably won’t be much space for him to exploit behind the defence.

The conundrum for Hodgson is in midfield and getting the balance between creativity and defensive solidity. Jack Wilshire has looked fairly sharp when he’s played in the warm-ups games so will Roy try and find a place for him? Is there a place for Raheem Sterling on the wing?

Fletch's England starting XI


England really have nothing to fear. Why can’t we go and win the tournament? It’s the most exciting group of attacking players England have had in more than a decade. The team should be set up to score goals. Yes, we may struggle defensively, but all the major contenders have weaknesses in their squads — for me there is no stand-out favourite.

If England play to their potential then they should win all the group matches, and then they can build momentum for the rest of the tournament. But experience tells us it won’t be as simple as that!

If you were to push me then I would say Spain are slight favourites — they have a number of players in their squad who are genuinely world class and have come off great seasons with their clubs. But even they aren’t as strong as a few years ago.

The tournament really is wide open.

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