Dimitar Berbatov has hailed Harry Kane’s performances in the Euro 2020 knockout stages and has a feeling it might finally be England’s year.
Berbatov was impressed with the way England handled their semi-final against Denmark and says he’ll be rooting for the Three Lions in the final.
“Reaching the final of Euro 2020 is a major achievement for England. I had a sense that this could be England’s year,” Berbatov told Betfair. “The talent and quality in this England squad is capable of doing something special and I’m really pleased to see them in the final.
“Their opponents Italy have an excellent squad too, so it won’t be easy on Sunday.
“The only thing they have to watch is the pressure. In the first half England were a little tense and the upshot was that Denmark scored the first goal.
“Eventually England took control of the game but they must make sure the pressure doesn’t get to them against Italy.”
Sterling, Phillips and Kane the standouts
Berbatov picked out Sterling, Phillips and Kane as England’s key men against Denmark.
“Raheem Sterling was England’s most impressive player in the semi-final. I thought his running was unbelievable. He was a threat throughout the match was still pushing deep into extra-time.
“Kalvin Phillips stood out again too. He’s been one of the players of the tournament and, sooner or later, I expect him to leave Leeds for a bigger club.
“He is playing with maturity, agility, knowing when to run with the ball and when to pass. I would like to see him sign for Manchester United.”
Berbatov also stressed the importance of Harry Kane to this England squad, “He received some criticism in the Group stages but Kane can tell his critics to f**k off.
“Even great players have their ups and downs. Even when he wasn’t scoring he was doing a lot for the team. But now the goals are coming.
“The pressure on him with the penalty against Denmark was immense. You cannot imagine what it feels like to take a penalty with a nation’s hopes on your shoulders. It wasn’t a good penalty but he got a bit of luck.”
England can edge tight final
Berbatov does think that England have what it takes to beat Italy on Sunday but certainly doesn’t expect it to be easy.
“Italy are unbeaten in 33 games and are enjoying a great tournament,” he says. “They are passionate, well-organised and will run all day. But I am rooting for England. Of course I f**king am!
“I played half my career in England and I loved the country, the people and I still love going back. The players deserve to win. Between now and Sunday they must rest and prepare mentally for the game of their lives.
“The final is not going to be an easy watch for fans on either side. I would love to see goals, but I think both teams will be very cautious.
“I predict that England will win 1-0 in normal time. Stay calm, England. You have the quality to bring this home. Good luck.”
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