Former West Ham legend and England international Alan Devonshire has given his say on England’s World Cup chances, players to look out for, and spoke on his own experience representing his country.
Devonshire played over 400 games for West Ham United, becoming a club legend, and he played a huge part in the winning goal of the FA Cup final win against Arsenal in 1980, crossing the ball in from wide midfield.
He knows the national team well too, representing England 8 times, and has an impressive pedigree as a manager. Alan has an abundance of knowledge on the beautiful game, and his opinion should not be taken lightly.
The ex-England winger is optimistic about the Three Lions start to the World Cup in Qatar, stating: “England’s first game was great, the second not so good, but it’s a tournament.”
Some England fans believed that Southgate set up for the draw which resulted in a boring watch for Three Lions fans, but Devonshire explained that “The main goal for Southgate and England is getting through, which were likely to do, and then we go from there.
“At the end of the day, you would hope for England to make it to the final.
“There’s a lot of luck in these tournaments, like who we can get in the knockout rounds leading up to the final and VAR.”
Gareth Southgate has had a brilliant record on paper in the last two major tournaments, reaching the semi-final of the Russia World Cup 2018, and the final of the Euros 2020. “We have done well in the last couple of tournaments, and we can only hope that we will do well again.”
When asked about players to look out for, as a former wide midfielder, it was no surprise who Devonshire picked to impress in Qatar. “Listen, at the end of the day, Mbappe is always going to be one of the top players in the tournament.”
He also mentioned some others: “There’s been some good players, I’ve been impressed with Ecuador and ex-hammer Enner Valencia. It’ll be interesting to see how (Ecuador) they get on.”
Enner Valencia has made headlines recently for becoming the first South American player to score 6 consecutive World Cup goals for his country.
Devonshire hopes that he can see more of these players but is aware there will be early exits.
“To see these players as much as we want to is all is down to a bit of luck, especially with VAR.
“It’s a strange tournament, especially in the middle of a season.”
Relating this to his playing career, Devonshire stated that all the players should be proud to represent their countries: “It’s the pinnacle playing for your country.
“It’s a privilege to play football with whatever club you’re at, let alone your country.
“Luckily enough I did that, and people will never be able to take that away from me.”
When asked about pressure, Devonshire had a similar response to former Wolves and Cameroon international George Elokobi. He said that he never felt pressure playing football, as you don’t forget how to play when you put an England shirt on.
“It was a great experience for me, but pressure? Never!
“I’m sorry, there is no pressure playing football.”
It’ll be interesting to see England take on Wales on Tuesday at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
It’ll be crucial that the pressure doesn’t play a part for the Three Lions in the last fixture of Group B or the knock-out stages, but former players Alan Devonshire and George Elokobi don’t think it will happen.