'England got found out' - Merson questions Euro 2020 credentials after 'missed opportunity'

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The former Three Lions international doubts that Gareth Southgate's side can challenge at the next major tournament as they remain behind rivals

England “got found out” at World Cup 2018, says Paul Merson, with only three players having impressed in a squad which remains some way short of challenging for top honours.

The Three Lions exceeded all expectations in Russia as they made their way to the semi-finals, with the efforts of Gareth Southgate’s side restoring pride in a fan base which had started to lose interest.

They were, however, to come unstuck against Croatia in the country’s biggest game since 1990, before suffering a second defeat of the tournament to Belgium in a third place play-off.

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Merson believes those setbacks highlighted problems which have existed for some time, with there little reason to believe that a side being talked up for future success can compete at Euro 2020.

A man with 21 England caps to his name told the Daily Star: “I’ll be shocked if England end up winning the next Euros.

“It’s even harder to win than the World Cup because there is more quality in that tournament.

“In the cold light of day, we only played three games against teams who are any good and we lost all of them.

“England got found out really and you could see it in the play-off game against Belgium. They’ve just got better individual players than us.

“People say it’s a young team and it will get better but so will everyone else. Belgium’s front three will be in their prime at the Euros and they will have more chance of winning it than we do.

“That’s why this tournament should ultimately go down as a missed opportunity for England. We came so close to reaching the final and may not ever get as good a chance of doing it again.

“Kieran Trippier has done his reputation a whole lot of good. He was one of the players of the tournament for me.

“Harry Maguire grew into the tournament as well and has made a name for himself now. But he looked tired at the end.

“And Jordan Pickford has done well. People were asking questions about him before the tournament but he’s answered every one. I think he’s only going to get better and should be the No.1 for years to come.

“But apart from those three no one has really stood out.”

England will face another stern test of their credentials in their first post-World Cup outing, with their UEFA Nations League campaign set to be opened at Wembley against Spain on September 8.

They will then take in a friendly date with Switzerland before tackling World Cup finalists Croatia in their second Nations League Group 4 outing in October.

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