Scepticism abounded when Greg Dyke began his chairmanship of the Football Association by claiming England could win the 2022 World Cup, but Sir Trevor Brooking insists the Three Lions are on course to lift silverware two years earlier.
England have only fleetingly threatened to end a seemingly interminable wait for success, last tasted at the 1966 World Cup on home soil, but Brooking is adamant that opportunity knocks again at Euro 2020.
To celebrate 60 years of the European Championships, the tournament in four years’ time will be staged in 13 cities across the continent, and both semi-finals and the final are due to be held at Wembley Stadium.
“The younger players who have started to filter through now will be four years further on and there will be one or two that the average fan hasn’t heard of yet that will come through, a bit like [Tottenham’s] Dele Alli has in the last year,” Brooking told City A.M.
“We’ll have midfield players and forwards who will give us the cutting edge which we lacked 10 years ago in tournaments. England got criticised for the penalty shootouts but they only come about by not being able to score the goals to win knockout games.
“Over the next four years we will have a pool of talent capable of creating and scoring goals and then that will help at the knockout stage.
“With the incentive of a semi-final and final at Wembley, I would love to think that we would have a group by then that could go all the way.”
Brooking, 67, retired from his role as the FA’s director of football development after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which coincidentally was England’s worst showing on the global stage for more than half a century.
England will bid for redemption this summer at Euro 2016 in France, and while Brooking believes the tournament will prove more profitable than their South American demise, he cites defensive frailties as manager Roy Hodgson’s ultimate Achilles heel.
“We have enough attacking talent,” added Brooking. “We can score goals in this tournament with the players available but the defence is the area that I would be slightly concerned about, especially against the better sides. But I do think we will score goals and will have a better tournament. Hopefully everybody then feels optimistic going forward after this summer.”
Sir Trevor Brooking attended an event unveiling details of Lidl UK’s partnership with the FA, which will provide 1.2m opportunities for boys and girls across England to receive professional coaching. See: faskills.thefa.com