Jose Mourinho has claimed that England will be one of the favourites to lift the World Cup in South Africa next year and has labelled Fabio Capello’s side “a team to fear”.
The Three Lions roared to a 4-0 friendly victory over a disappointing Slovakia side yesterday, in preparation for their World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine on Wednesday night.
England currently top their group, with four wins out of four, and have flourished under new manager Capello.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Mourinho argued that, after flattering to deceive for many years, the English threat must now be taken seriously by the rest of the world.
“On paper, England are a team that must be taken seriously in South Africa. They are definitely among the top five favourites,” he said.
“But with this bunch of players, and the fact you have one of the most special managers in the world, England will be a team to fear.”
The Inter coach also insisted that there was no problem playing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard together, despite the duo’s disjointed performances for their country sparking much debate.
“There is no problem here at all. You are talking about two of the top-five central midfield players in the world,” said the former Chelsea boss.
“There isn't a manager in club or international football that wouldn't dream of these two.
“Is there a better pair of central midfielders at club level or international level? I really don't think so.”
The Portuguese also insisted that David Beckham, who picked up his 109th England cap yesterday, must make Capello’s World Cup squad.
“We know what a special player David is, and he has proved people wrong again by coming to AC Milan and still proving he can shine at the very top level.
“Will he be fit enough to be able to play 90 minutes of every game next summer?
“Only David knows that, but he is a player, for me, that has to, at the very least, be in the squad.
“He knows what it is all about, and his experience will be invaluable for the rest of the lads. Just his presence will breathe confidence into them.”
Gill Clark, Goal.com