Newcastle United hero Paul Gascoigne makes bold World Cup prediction about three England players
The former Magpies midfielder knows what it takes to shine at a World Cup Finals.
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Thirty two years have passed since the Geordie midfielder burst onto the international scene with an impressive display at the World Cup Finals in Italy in 1990. Working under Sir Bobby Robson, Gazza shone against the likes of the Netherlands, Belgium and Cameroon before providing one of the truly iconic and heartbreaking moments in the tournament’s long history in a semi-final defeat against West Germany.
Gascoigne was seen crying on the pitch after he received his second yellow card, meaning he would have missed out on the final had Robson’s side came out on the wrong end of a penalty shoot-out after the two sides have battled to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.
Sadly, that proved to be Gascoigne’s only World Cup Finals, after England missed out on the tournament held in the United States four years later, before being controversially left out of the France 98 squad by Glenn Hoddle. Still a popular figure with England fans, Gascoigne assessed the options available to current Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate, and he revealed his admiration for three players that can make an impact in Qatar.
He told Sky Sports: “We have got some quality individual players that we have to gel together. (Jack) Grealish, I like Grealish. Obviously, he’s not a Gazza, but what he is, if he loses the ball, he’s not frightened to go and get it back again. He’s not frightened to want the ball, even if he loses it. He still wants it and credit to him for that.
“(Phil) Foden is good, I like (Marcus) Rashford, I don’t think he gets the opportunities he deserves and he’s a quality player. He seems to be a nice guy and very talented as well.”
It is safe to say the mood surrounding England ahead of the tournament is far from optimistic after Southgate’s side endured a difficult run of form over the last year. After friendly wins over Switzerland and Ivory Coast earlier this year, the Three Lions are without a victory in six fixtures against the likes of Italy, Germany and Hungary.
Gascoigne urged the current crop of England players to stick behind Southgate and compared the situation to the one he found himself in ahead of the Italia 90 tournament.
He said: “We’ve got some talent in that squad but we had some talent in our squad (at Italia 90). Lineker, there was me, there were players that were different types, but we stuck together. It’s important they play for Gareth Southgate because when I got picked for England, I made sure I didn’t let Bobby Robson down because he gave me to the opportunity and England are getting a little bit of stick at the moment.
“The players have got behind Gareth Southgate because if they get picked they can’t let him down and I think that’s what happened over the last couple of games. So it’s important that the players stick together and whoever gets picked by Gareth, don’t let him down.”