Northampton gloomy about Three Lions prospects
More disappointment for England fans was the general consensus from shoppers in Northampton town centre on Friday as many predict another poor major championship showing from the Three Lions.
Roy Hodgson’s men qualified for the Euro 2016 finals in France with an unbeaten record but many believe this tournament will be another steep learning curve for his young squad.
Hannah Welch, 19, a sport science student at the University of Northampton, said of England’s chances: “Hopefully we get to the semi-finals but I bet we will get beaten in the quarter-finals and disappoint as usual.”
This is a view shared by number of other Northampton residents, including pub landlord Phillip Jeffries, 55, who suggested: “As soon as England play anyone decent, we will lose poorly.”
Retired plumber Dennis Stevens, 69, claimed: “England’s squad is just not good enough. He has left the wrong people out and called up one or two questionably names like Marcus Rashford. Where is Defoe?”
Wales fan and local student Ben Jackson, 18, said: “Wales will make the last-16 but will lose to someone better. England I hope go out in the groups but will probably make the quarters, although Wales will beat them when they play.”
England’s poor record since their Euro 96’ semi-final appearance in major tournaments hasn’t helped the pre-finals spirit amongst the public. Some even predicted an earlier exit for Hodgson’s men.
Andrea, 45, a Northampton catering manager said: “In my heart I want us to win it but in my head I think we will win the groups and go out in the next stage.’
Cory, 24, unemployed, suggested England might not even progress past the group stages.
He said: “(England will go out) probably in the first round. It depends if we have the right squad on or not. If we play the wrong players it won’t go well.’
Others were more optimistic, Melissa Cole, 41, a shop assistant, suggested England could go all the way.
She said: “We’ll win it, easy. No question.”
Builder Ben Timmett, 29, believes Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy could be England’s secret weapon in the finals.
He said: “We can make the semi-finals if we play well and win the group. With our young squad we can be a match for anyone. Vardy’s speed will be the difference.”
Perhaps surprisingly, after their catastrophic World Cup campaign just two years ago and despite losing 1-0 to Georgia in the week, many Northampton football fans believe Spain could be the ones to watch.
Italian barman Luca Giolli, 53, tips Spain to go all the way. He said: “Italy will make the final but (in) my view they will lose to Spain. They have a point to prove.”
Ben Timmett, Andrea, and Hannah all backed the 2008 and 2012 winners for glory, with Germany, France and Portugal other notable choices.
Euro 2016 kicks-off tonight (Friday) at 8pm with host-nation France taking on Romania in Paris.
England will play their first group game in Marseille tomorrow evening (8pm) against Russia.