Daily Star

If England are going to win it, this is the one

New generation of stars can answer nation’s call

- by KEITH WEBSTER READ more from Wes Brown at instantcas­inos.com

WES BROWN knows all about pressure and expectatio­n at the highest level.

Having signed for the Manchester United academy as a 12-year-old in the early 1990s, he was bred to believe in the Sir Alex Ferguson doctrine that maximum effort is the minimum requiremen­t and success should follow.

Through 15 years as a pro at Old Trafford, Brown won five league titles, two FA Cups, two League Cups and two Champions Leagues.

At United, and particular­ly in the Fergie years, that sort of trophy haul was what was expected by supporters.

So when the now 44-year-old former United and England defender says there should be an expectatio­n on Gareth Southgate’s side to go to Germany and finally win the European crown, he knows it heaps pressure on them.

But also that that is what comes with talent at your disposal.

England, after all, are the only nation of Europe’s top five domestic leagues not to have won the Euros.

There are a total of 10 names on that trophy – Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Russia, Czechoslov­akia, Holland, Denmark, Greece and Portugal – with England the glaring omission.

And with a squad boasting Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Declan Rice, Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka, Brown is impressed and full of expectatio­n.

“England have to win,” Brown told instantcas­inos.com. “We were disappoint­ed in the final last time out at the Euros, but Gareth has been there for quite a while and I’m sure that he realises this is the best opportunit­y England are going to get to win a major tournament with his squad.

“The talent that we have with this squad is incredible and everyone has to understand that – it’s not just down to one person.

“Everyone has to believe in it from the fans to the players as well. “This is the one. If England are going to win it, this is their opportunit­y.”

Brown was in and out of the squad during his 23 appearance­s for England over 11 years, which included being part of the 2002 World Cup party.

He has cast his expert eye over England’s central defensive options and believes that what Southgate appears to favour as his first-choice partnershi­p is the right way to go. “Harry Maguire and John Stones should be the starting centre-backs for me,” Brown said of the duo that began the recent friendly against Brazil at Wembley before Maguire was withdrawn through injury in the second half. “They’ve had many years together and when both of them have played for England, they’ve done very well, Maguire especially. I know

Stones can play in lots of different positions, but the current set-up of him and Maguire as the centre-backs works well.

“The expectatio­n for England this year is to win the whole thing and I don’t think tampering with the centre-backs at this stage helps, so it’s got to be Maguire and Stones.”

But while Brown is keen for two wise old heads to anchor the defence, he is delighted to see England’s latest new blood in with a huge chance of being on the plane to Germany in the shape of Manchester United’s teenager midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.

Mainoo came on as a sub against Brazil last month and three days later started against Belgium.

“Before his call-up, it was going to be very tight,” Brown said. “But now Gareth Southgate has added him into the squad and put him on the field, I think that gets him on the plane for Germany.

“He really is a player who is beyond his years with regards to his calmness in big moments and Southgate really likes him and trusts him already.

“I don’t think he’ll be shy in putting him on the pitch if he needs him either.

“He’s come in because of all the injuries United have had, he’s had to step up and play because Erik ten Hag had no other option.

“But I’m so happy he did because you can tell what a good, young player he is and that’s now on show for his country as well.

“He will learn and get better, but his attitude is the main thing and the reason he’s played so many games.”

 ?? ?? CASE FOR THE DEFENCE: Brown says Maguire and Stones should be first-choice pairing
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE: Brown says Maguire and Stones should be first-choice pairing

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