2018 World Cup team better than current England side – Barnes
Posted On March 26, 2021
Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes thinks the current England side is weaker than it was at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Most of the squad that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 under Gareth Southgate are still in the England manager’s thinking for the Euros.
But Danny Rose, Jamie Vardy (due to international retirement), Jack Butland, Phil Jones, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph, Gary Cahill (due to international retirement) Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young will all almost certainly miss out this summer.
The core squad remains the same, though, with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford some of the key names likely to star again at this summer’s European Championship.
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Despite Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Ben Chilwell, Declan Rice, Dean Henderson and other talent emerging, Barnes actually thinks the current England squad is weaker than the one from the 2018 World Cup.
Barnes told BonusCodeBets: “The balance is not right with this England team. We’ve got a lot of attacking players, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, James Maddison etc. But we’re not that strong defensively. We need combative and strong defensive midfield players, and we just don’t have that.
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“I suppose Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson can fill that defensive midfield role, but Declan Rice doesn’t have much international experience.
“England are more weighted towards their forwards, which is fine when you’re playing against teams that England can beat three or four nil. But when we come up against the top teams, England need to be more solid defensively or we need attacking players that can work hard defensively, and we just don’t have that.
“We would need to play like Manchester City, and just dominate possession without getting caught out, the balance isn’t right. We’ve heard it all before about the golden generation, and these players being the best in years past. For me, in 2018 our team was better then, than it is now.
“We are not the best in the world by a long way. We have a chance at winning the Euros this summer, and the World Cup. But we’ll have to get the balance right between attack and defence.
“If we made it through the World Cup quarter finals then we’d play France, Brazil or another one of the top teams, and yes, we can beat them, but they can also beat us. I don’t see this England team performing better than our 2018 World Cup squad.”
England 2018 World Cup squad: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Kieran Trippier, Jack Butland, Danny Welbeck, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Fabian Delph, Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nick Pope.