England footballing icon David Beckham says Roy Hodgson’s young squad in Brazil will fancy their chances of lifting the World Cup, despite being written off as potential champions.
The England party arrived in Brazil during the early hours of Sunday, with many of their followers and national journalists believing that qualifying for the knockout stages would be seen as a major achievement.
But Beckham, who earned more than a century of England caps between 1996 and 2009, thinks the players will be both ready and up for the challenge, when they open their Group D campaign against Italy on Saturday evening.
I'm very optimistic. The good thing about young players is that they're not scared so they'll be ready.
The 39-year-old former Manchester United midfielder, who played in the final stages of three World Cups, told Sky Sports News: “I'm very optimistic. The good thing about young players is that they're not scared so they'll be ready.
“I've obviously been to a few World Cups myself and I always used to go into any big tournament thinking we could go all the way.
“Our players will be doing exactly the same. Are our young players up for it? Without a doubt they're up for it.
“People ask if they're ready to go into a World Cup but these players play in the biggest league in the world and against some of the best players in the world.
“It doesn't matter how young they are, they're prepared.”
Asked whether he thinks Wayne Rooney will impress in Brazil, Beckham added: “He proves himself every time he steps out onto a football field.
“Manchester United might not have had a good season but he had a good season and every time he puts on an England shirt you know it means something to him.”