Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is confident England have what it takes to produce some shock results at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Injuries are rife within the England camp, but the former Portsmouth boss has played up the Three Lions’ chances in this year’s competition.
Although lacking Rio Ferdinand, Gary Cahill and Kyle Walker, Redknapp is insistent that England’s defence is more than capable and could help provide a number of surprise results against some of the tournament’s favourites, especially with Joe hart in goal and Ashley Cole at the back.
“I wouldn’t write us off,” Redknapp told The Sun. “Roy has them well organised and we have outstanding players.
“The goalkeeper is as good as any and Ashley Cole’s the best left-back.
“John Terry and Joleon Lescott? I can’t see there being a better central defensive pair. There also won’t be too many better right-backs than Glen Johnson around. I don’t think you’ll find a superior back five — and that gives Roy a great base to work from.
“He’ll have them well organised to do their jobs and they will be strong.
“In front of them Stevie Gerrard and Scott Parker are powerful. Then you are looking for that bit of flair up front to win you the games.”
Redknapp is convinced Gerrard needs to produce the goods in central midfield to fill the void left by the absences of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry.
“Frank is a miss and so is Gareth Barry but you weren’t going to play both of them as Scott Parker looks a fixture and Gerrard certainly will play,” Redknapp said.
“Again, we are strong enough in there, it’s only the amount of games that could take its toll on the midfield.”
With France widely expected to top Group D, Redknapp has urged the Three Lions to get over the line and secure a place in the quarter-finals as he believes anything can happen from then on in the knockout stages.
“If we can win our group we go into the second round to play — assuming Spain win Group C — Croatia, the Republic of Ireland or an Italian team that seem to be in turmoil,” Redknapp continued. “It’s not impossible.
“Wayne coming back when he does could work for England.
“It’s important we hang in there. The first two games are going to be tight and they could even both be draws.
“Then we have Rooney back to play Ukraine and I could see us winning that one.
“The two favourites are Germany and Spain but England are good value at their price and an outsider would be Portugal.”
Asked if a part of him wanted England to fail for picking Hodgson for the vacant managerial position over him, Redknapp aggressively denied.
“I never felt that way,” said Redknapp. “I didn’t wake up the day after Roy got the job and think about anything like that. It’s not a problem for me.
“I’ve a great job at Tottenham and enjoy the day-to-day involvement of managing a football club.
“I don’t know if I would have been happy. I’m not a person who would want to be with the players once every couple of months and do all the other stuff that goes with it.
“They made a decision and I wish them all the best.
“I like Roy very much and wish him every success — and I genuinely mean that. I want to see us do well. I’m very proud to be English.
“What would be ideal? England to win it and, if the draw lets us, by beating Germany in the final.”