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Paul Merson says: England can win Euro 2024 under Gareth Southgate | 'Bukayo Saka can go as far as he wants in the game'

Sky Sports' Paul Merson: "England are a big threat. I don't get why people keep saying this could be it for Gareth Southgate. I never expected us to win a tournament in my lifetime. Now, I expect us to win every tournament we go to, so Southgate is doing something right."

Paul Merson, Gareth Southgate
Image: Paul Merson says England should be careful what they wish for when questioning Gareth Southgate, insisting the Three Lions have every chance of winning Euro 2024

Paul Merson says England should be careful what they wish for when questioning Gareth Southgate's future, insisting the Three Lions have every chance of winning Euro 2024 with the likes of Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka leading the charge.

England maintained their winning start to Euro 2024 qualifying with a 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Group C at Wembley, backing up their 2-1 win against Italy in Naples last Thursday

It capped a perfect week for Southgate, and Merson, speaking in his weekly column for skysports.com, thinks England will be one of the firm favourites to lift the trophy in Germany next year.

The Magic Man was also full of praise for both Kane and Saka, who he described as players for the big occasion after their performances in the last week.

Read on for Merson's thoughts in full.

'England are a big threat under Southgate'

Paul Merson's WC predictions
Image: Merson thinks England will be one of the favourites to win Euro 2024

It was a great few days for England. They've beaten the two toughest teams they will face in the group, and those wins will go a long way to already wrapping up the group and securing qualification for Euro 2024.

England are a big threat.

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I don't get why people keep saying this could be it for Gareth Southgate.

I never expected us to win a tournament in my lifetime. Now, I expect us to win every tournament we go to, so Southgate is doing something right.

You really do have to be careful what you wish for. These players like Gareth and you can see they do. There's a great team spirit in the camp and the players enjoy being there.

Jude Bellingham is getting better every week. At the World Cup he was a young kid playing in his first tournament but at the next few tournaments, you wonder just how good he’s going to be.
Paul Merson

Be careful, that's all I'd say. If you start listening to people and get rid of Gareth with a new manager coming in like a Fabio Capello. I didn't hear too many people waxing lyrical about Capello when he was England manager and taking away tomato sauce from the players.

You can see the harmony between the players and the manager in the England camp. I don't get it when people say this could be Southgate's last tournament.

We are turning up to the Euros and we have every chance of winning the tournament. We had every chance of winning the World Cup, every chance of winning the last Euros and every chance of winning the World Cup before that.

Before that, we had no chance. We were just also-rans getting knocked out by Iceland.

There's no guarantee with a new manager. The players might not like any potential new manager

'Saka's a big moment player'

Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring England's second
Image: Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring England's second vs Ukraine

Bukayo Saka was outstanding against Ukraine. He gave Vitalii Mykolenko a torrid afternoon at Wembley.

Saka is a big moment player, and he produces at crucial times in big football matches.

He's not the player that gets a hat-trick against a side bottom of the league or he's not grabbing the seventh goal in a 7-0 win. At Arsenal, he's getting the first goal, the equaliser or the winner. He's getting assists at crucial moments.

He's a big occasion player and there are not a lot of them around.

There are players that will do a lot of things in games, but they won't be in the most important part of the game. Saka does do that, however, on a weekly basis.

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Aaron McLean describes the moment Bukayo Saka scored a stunner to give England a 2-0 lead against Ukraine at Wembley

'Saka can go as far as he wants in the game'

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England boss Gareth Southgate was full of praise for Bukayo Saka following his player-of-the-match performance in the 2-0 win over Ukraine

He's been turning it on for Arsenal all season with the goals and assists he's got.

I can't talk highly enough of the lad. He's improved immensely and I don't mean improved because he now goes past four or five players, but it's his end product.

He's got a great calmness about him. He's only 21, there's plenty more to come from him. He won't play his best football until he's 26, 27 or 28.

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Watch our picks of Arsenal's Bukayo Saka's best goals and assists so far this Premier League season

The problem he will find is because of the position he plays he will find things harder at some stage. As he becomes more well known, teams will put him on the radar a lot more. Teams will look to stop the ball getting to him and they will also double up on him very quickly.

He will have to change his game again to combat that, but he has the temperament to handle that.

But he just loves football. All he wants is to play football and he plays the game with a smile on his face. He has all the ingredients to go as far as he wants in the game.

'World-class Kane is phenomenal'

Harry Kane holds up a golden boot presented to him for becoming England's all-time record goalscorer
Image: Harry Kane holds up a golden boot presented to him for becoming England's all-time record goalscorer

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Harry Kane is the best in the world.

He has an all-round game and with the way he plays he can easily play until he's 35 and still be as good now. His game is not about pace or power. He's an unbelievable finisher, he can drop off and dictate play from the number 10 position and he can see a pass and play a pass. He has the all-round package.

He's such a good finisher that when he does miss a chance, which he did with an attempted left foot volley against Ukraine, you are shocked. I was sitting on the sofa and was stunned when that chance went begging!

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Harry Kane scored his 55th goal for his country to give England a 1-0 lead in their European Qualifier against Ukraine

For his goal, he gets a bit lucky with the finish on this occasion but in the build-up, he starts the move and links it before getting in the box.

I don't think people realise how hard and how low he strikes the ball. It's very rare that he strikes the ball at the goalkeeper's chest, and he just parries it away. He hardly wastes anything.

Tottenham, despite all their problems, have a chance of finishing in the top four all because of Kane.

He is just phenomenal. I'm a massive fan. There is absolutely no other way to look at it. It's a simple as that.

Could Kane get to 100 international goals?

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Gareth Southgate says it was an 'historic moment' for 'outstanding' Harry Kane, after the England captain became his country's record goalscorer

I don't think so. It will be hard considering his age. It will be a massive ask for him to get another 45 goals the other side of 30.

The thing in his favour at the moment, though, is he has no threat. There is no-one even close to pushing him for his place in the England starting XI.

We saw it a bit when we had so many world class goalkeepers that the caps were spread out a bit with Ray Clemence, Peter Shilton, David Seaman and Chris Woods. This isn't happening with Kane. He will play in all of England's games if he can keep himself fit.

But getting to 100 goals for England? I don't see it.

When you get to a certain age you will only be used at certain times in football and you will be rested here or there. But I can see him getting to 70 or 80 goals and that will be blowing the record out of the water.

There are goals to be had, especially with how dominant we are at the moment. We went to Italy where we have rarely won and we swept aside Ukraine, the third best team in our group with ease.

If he could reach 80 goals that would be a phenomenal achievement, especially considering the greats that have played before him for England.

'A leader leaving his mark on England'

Harry Kane celebrates after putting England 1-0 up
Image: Harry Kane celebrates after putting England 1-0 up at Wembley on Sunday

Kane doesn't lead by going around and shouting at everyone. He's a leader by example and by what he does on the pitch.

He's another player in this England side who loves the big moments and scores big goals at important times in big football matches.

Every young kid, every aspiring footballer should look at this man.

He went on loan three or four times as a young player and he didn't rip it up at any of Millwall, Leicester or Norwich. It was average at best. If you spoke to any of the fans of those clubs, I don't think many would have said they saw him going on to achieve what he has done in the game.

That tells you all you need to know about his mentality. He's so mentally strong.

There would have been a few players who would have been affected by poor loan spells. Some would have thought that if I can't do it at these clubs, how am I getting to do it at Spurs.

However, he didn't let it affect him one bit. To do what he's done, you can make a film about it if I'm being honest.

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