YOU’RE THE SPE­CIAL ONES

Jose says Eng­land’s team spirit can help them lift the tro­phy

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - FROM JOHN CROSS in Repino

JOSE MOUR­INHO has backed Eng­land to win the World Cup.

The Manch­ester United boss rates the Three Lions as “re­ally strong”, with enough pedi­gree to spring a ma­jor sur­prise in Rus­sia.

It is the ul­ti­mate vote of

con­fi­dence from the Spe­cial One for Gareth South­gate’s World Cup cam­paign. Mour­inho said: “Eng­land have a good group of young but ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers. All of them play in the best do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion in the world in the Pre­mier League.

“All of them play­ing in the best teams. All of them hav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League. So yes, I think they can do it.”

He ac­cepted Spain, France, Germany and Brazil were ob­vi­ous favourites but added: “They have good squads but good squads do not al­ways make good teams.

“Some­times not so spe­cial squads, in the­ory, can make bet­ter teams. For ex­am­ple, Portugal in the Eu­ros had far from the best squad but did it.”

He hailed Eng­land’s United mid­fielder Jesse Lin­gard (above) as a joker who can lift the squad.

Mour­inho, a former PE teacher who was vis­it­ing a school in his role as a Jaguar am­bas­sador, said: “He’s a naughty but funny guy – the funny one that doesn’t dis­turb the class, the funny one the teacher isn’t up­set with.

“He makes ev­ery­one in the class laugh and cre­ates a good at­mos­phere.”

BREAD WIN­NERS Kane and South­gate are wel­comed to St Peters­burg with some tra­di­tional Rus­sian gifts

HIGH PRAISE Jose Mour­inho

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