Teddy Sheringham talks England and Euro 96 memories
A former England striker who knows his way around an international tournament is Teddy Sheringham. But does he think Euro 2020 is the year England can go all the way at Wembley?
We spoke to the ex-striker to talk all things Football, including the Three Lions’ chances, England memories, Harry Kane’s future and loads more ahead of his Ukraine v England Ladbrokes 5-A-Side selection…
Harry Kane can still win the Golden Boot
“I still think that if we go all the way in this tournament, Harry Kane can still win the Golden Boot, for me. If we score early on Saturday, the game opens up and we could go on and score two, three or even four goals. And he might get a couple himself.
“Then you go into the semi-final, if he gets a goal, all of a sudden he’s right up there near the top of the scoring charts.
“The way Harry plays, how dynamic he is, and how focused he is, he’s an unbelievable player. He’s probably the best number nine in the world at the moment, and has been for the last three years. That goal against Germany will have done wonders for him, I promise you.
“Without a doubt, for him to come out and say what he said a month ago, I think Harry’s gone. He’ll leave Tottenham this summer; he’s already left in his mind. In this day and age, you’d imagine he knows something.
“When I left Tottenham, I didn’t know anything about the situation at first. I knew that clubs were looking at me, but I didn’t know where I was going to go. I was lucky that Eric Cantona had left Manchester United and there was a space there for me; that was just good timing.
“I think that Harry Kane knows he’s going to Manchester City. They’ve got a lot of backing, a fantastic manager, some great players, and Kane’s even said he’d like to play with Kevin De Bruyne. He couldn’t make it any more obvious. He’s got to be joining them, and if he does, well it’s just the icing on the cake for that team.
“They create so many chances, they play the game the right way and they wear teams down, they need someone to just finish teams off and he’d be perfect for them.
“I don’t want to see him go, because of my connection to Tottenham, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. It’s a long way for Tottenham to get back to where Harry wants them to be, so I think it’s inevitable that he’s going to be leaving them this summer.”
Southgate to drop Rice or Phillips against Ukraine?
“I didn’t think there were enough ball players in the team from the start against Germany; the kind of players who are going to retain possession.
“But I could see what Gareth [Southgate] was trying to do with how he set the team up. He obviously realised we’d be able to overrun them.
“I would have liked to have seen a little more flair up-front, but I thought Bukayo Saka really took the game to them in that first-half, and Raheem Sterling is just full of confidence at the moment.
“It’s been a very tough start to the tournament, especially playing at home, because teams make it even harder for you to score against them.
“I’m guessing Ukraine are going to be sitting deep against England on Saturday night; they won’t be trying to come out and play against us. We’ll probably be having to break them down, so our formation will change again. I think it’ll probably be a 4-3-3, but with a little bit more going forward. We look very solid as a back four.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Gareth takes one of those holding midfielders out and puts a little bit more flair in that are of the pitch. Instead of playing with two sitting and one in front, I think he’ll go with one sitting and two in front to give us more chance of breaking the Ukrainians down.”
Tony Adams is the one Euro ’96 player who’d improve this England team
“If you’re asking me who I’d say would be able to come into this current England team from my old side, I’d have to say Tony Adams.
“I think that without a doubt, Harry Maguire and John Stones are growing in stature, and having Maguire come back in is a major lift for everyone. Stones has been fantastic as well, but if you’re talking real top, top players who know their capabilities, putting someone like Tony Adams in alongside Harry Maguire, his drive, mentality and experience would be fantastic.
“He had the ability to help everyone along, and he’d always make you realise what it means to play for your country; not that the current team don’t already know. But he’s such a calming influence on the pitch. Everything about what Tony was as a player, and how he carried himself was so special.
“He didn’t really care about himself on the pitch; he was always making sure everybody else was doing their jobs, and sometimes you need that in an inexperienced team.”
Walking up to take that penalty is the most nervous I’ve ever been on a football pitch
“Once we’d got to the stage where we knew we were in a penalty shootout against Germany, the first five takers speak for themselves. You’ve got Alan Shearer, who is always going to take the first one. Pearcey [Stuart Pearce] and Gazza would want to take one, as would David Platt, and then I was the fifth.
“They’re all great penalties, but walking up to the spot is probably the most nervous I’ve ever been on a football pitch. Putting the ball down on the spot, you try and take the negative thoughts out of your mind, but you’re just thinking ‘please don’t miss’.
“Nothing compares to that feeling of putting the ball down and taking a penalty in that shootout. But I looked up and saw the goalkeeper, and I don’t know whether he was crouched down, but he just didn’t look so big in the goal.
“I’ve taken 10,000 penalties in my life, so if I put it exactly where I want it to go, there’s no way he’s saving it. My confidence grew from seeing how small he looked.
“As I stepped back, I ran up and made out like I was going to hit it hard and across the goalkeeper, but placed it with the side of my foot into the top right corner of the goal. The relief and the excitement in my body was just flowing. To see it hit the back of the net was just a moment of beauty for me.”
Match prediction: England 3-0 Ukraine
“I think England at least reach the final from this point. I just think we’ve dealt with everything so well so far, in the four games we’ve played.
“Yes, we’ve beaten the Germans, and we’re all delighted, but it counts for nothing if we go to Rome and lose to Ukraine. I don’t think that’s going to happen, simply because of the way Gareth carries himself; I like his demeanour.
“I definitely think England reach the final, and then from the other side of the draw, for me, I think Belgium come out on top.
“As for my prediction for the England v Ukraine game, I’m going to go England to win 3-0.”