David Beckham says England’s young stars have a “real opportunity” to end the nation’s decades-long wait for a major trophy at next year’s Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.
The former England captain won multiple medals in a glittering club career but failed to lift silverware at international level despite playing in talent-packed sides.
Gareth Southgate’s team, fourth in the FIFA rankings, have a good recent record at major tournaments but England have not tasted glory since winning the 1966 World Cup on home soil.
They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and agonisingly lost to Italy on penalties in the European Championship final at Wembley three years later.
Southgate’s men, who lost to France in the last eight at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, have already qualified for the Euro 2024 finals with two matches to go, against Malta and North Macedonia.
The side boast an impressive array of attacking talent including Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham, 20, and Harry Kane, who is enjoying a prolific season at Bayern Munich.
“I really believe in this England team,” Beckham, 48, told AFP on Wednesday. “I believe in Gareth Southgate and what he’s doing and what he’s done for a number of years now.
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“We were unfortunate to lose in the Euros final against Italy, but we were so close. And I’ve seen that when our national team has some kind of success, the way our country comes together is incredible.”
The former Manchester and Real Madrid midfielder, visiting India in his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, said: “I don’t want to speak too soon, but the 2024 Euros, I think that we have a real opportunity with young players like Cole Palmer, like Jude Bellingham, and the other players that we have in the team.
“And of course, you know, we have a captain like Harry Kane who still continues to inspire his team and still continues to score goals. So I think we have a real opportunity.”
England host Malta on Friday before facing North Macedonia away three days later but want to finish strongly as they aim to secure a top seeding for next month’s group-stage draw.