‘England are among a group of four above the rest… but if France’s stars turn up, they will win no problem’: Wayne Rooney backs Didier Deschamps’ world champions to win Euro 2020 as he heaps praise on ‘world’s best midfielder’ N’Golo Kante
Wayne Rooney believes England are capable of making a major impact at Euro 2020 but has backed France to win the tournament.
Didier Deschamps’ star-studded side are looking to build on their success at the 2018 World Cup success, and Rooney feels that it will be difficult for any team to stop them.
Rooney wrote in The Times: ‘England are among a group of four teams that stand above the rest in terms of prospects at Euro 2020. Portugal and Belgium are in there too, but my clear favourites are France.
Wayne Rooney has revealed that world champions France are his favourites to win Euro 2020
‘Kylian Mbappe, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Hugo Lloris: you look at their quality, experience and track record as world champions and realise that if their players turn up, they will win the tournament, no problem.’
Despite having so many talented players, Rooney believes that there is great unity in the France squad, which will be a key asset as the tournament progresses.
According to Rooney, the unity in Didier Deschamps’ squad will be a key asset this summer
Rooney continued: ‘They are not just a collection of great talents. On the pitch, as we saw in Russia in 2018, France are very much a team and unity gets stronger when you win things together.
‘I just cannot imagine any one of Didier Deschamps’ players thinking, ‘I’m going to be the star to win the tournament for us.’ They will take their time, be composed, and try to do it together.’
Rooney reserved special praise for N’Golo Kante, with the midfielder going into the tournament off the back of a superb performance for Chelsea in their Champions League final success against Manchester City.
According to Rooney, Kante is even more effective than Claude Makelele, who also excelled for both France and Chelsea.
Rooney described France and Chelsea star N’Golo Kante as ‘the best midfielder in the world’
Rooney described Kante as being a combination of Makelele and former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
Rooney stated: ‘France have perhaps the ultimate team player in Kante. In the Champions League final, he gave the perfect performance. He does everything: breaks up play but then plays in tight areas and starts off the attack.
‘You used to see it with Yaya Toure, how he would get the ball and burst forward with it and it is so hard to defend against. Kante does all that but also protects his defence like Claude Makelele once did – only better.’
‘It’s unbelievable to have a footballer who is Toure and Makelele rolled into one — and then there’s Kante’s energy. At Chelsea, you see his energy bringing a lot out of the other players.’
Rooney believes that Kante is the best midfielder in the world.
He said: ‘Whenever Kante bursts forward you’ll see two or three of them bursting forward too, not worried about leaving their positions because if the ball is turned over they know he’s going to get back in shape and break up the counter-attack. For me he is the best midfielder in the world.’
France get their campaign underway when they Germany on June 15, with further games to follow against Hungary and Portugal.