Dele Alli can light up World Cup stage for England, insists 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst

Jim van Wijk 28/05/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Sir Geoff Hurst hopes England’s young Lions like Dele Alli can grab their opportunity to be part of a World Cup to remember this summer.

Manager Gareth Southgate opted to take a youthful squad out to Russia – with an average age of just over 26, it is the third youngest England have selected for a World Cup.

Hurst believes the fact many of the group will be heading into their first taste of football’s biggest stage can only provide a positive influence.

“There is a huge opportunity for somebody in the squad to come and make a name for himself,” said Hurst, who remains the only man to have scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final, as England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time at Wembley in 1966.

“If they produce it for England in a World Cup tournament, it will really bring their career to another level.

“Most of them are young – Dele Alli, for example, is 22, just about the same age as Alan Ball was in the (1966) World Cup final, so there is lots of scope and opportunity for someone now to come and produce performances that we will remember for a long time.”

Southgate is making the final adjustments to his pre-World Cup schedule, with defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and midfielder Jordan Henderson set to get a short break after Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday night, along with stand-by Adam Lallana.

England will face Nigeria at Wembley on June 2 before playing Costa Rica at Elland Road five days later ahead of the departure to their World Cup base in Repino, near St Petersburg, on June 12.

When the action finally gets under way against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, Hurst hopes it could be the start of a memorable tournament – which would make up in part for previous recent disappointments.

“I’m optimistic – I was optimistic before the last tournament, but let’s be fair, it has got to be better,” the 76-year-old said.

“We need to get it better because we have had two (major) tournaments where in Brazil (at the 2014 World Cup), it was two games and out, then (at Euro 2016) the Iceland game, I mean I’ve never seen an England game like that.

“But hopefully the spirit is good and they perform well. We want to see them perform well and get good results.

“So I’m optimistic, as usual, that we will do well – I can’t think any other way.”

Hurst is supporting Prostate Cancer UK’s Football March for Men, which takes place on July 22, with West Ham’s London Stadium one of four starting points in an event which converges at Wembley.

Sir Geoff Hurst

Having experienced former England team-mates Nobby Stiles and Mike Summerbee being affected by the disease, Hurst hopes to play his part in helping raise funds for research into prostate cancer, which kills one man every 45 minutes.

“When you narrow it down to that kind of statistic, it is quite shocking, really shocking,” Hurst said. “The walk is a great, innovative way of getting people to support the charity.

“It will be great to see all those walkers turning up at Wembley.

“It will almost be like a cup final, or even a World Cup final, with all the different colours from different teams – and uniting everybody against this terrible disease.”

To sign up for the March for Men or find out more information go to: http://www.prostatecanceruk.org/footballmarch.

Most popular

Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus believes Germany can go all the way again at 2018 World Cup

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Marco Reus feels that if Germany can find their rhythm at the 2018 World Cup then the holders will take some stopping.

Die Mannschaft are currently at a training camp in Eppan in northern Italy as Joachim Low’s squad prepare for friendlies against Austria on June 2 and Saudi Arabia on June 8.

Germany will start the defence of their trophy in Russia against Mexico in Moscow on June 17 as they look to progress from Group F, which also includes Sweden and South Korea.

Tougher challenges are likely to await should Germany, one of the perennial pre-tournament favourites, later plot a safe passage towards a return to the Luzhniki Stadium for the final on July 15.

Borussia Dortmund winger Reus believes the squad have the credentials to go all the way once again.

“Going into the World Cup as reigning champions is obviously never easy,” he said.

“I’m sure that if the team finds its rhythm and takes on board the way we want to play, there’s a lot going in Germany’s favour.

“But there’s also no point in already speculating about who we could face in the quarter-finals. No one should underestimate our group with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden, as a lot will be demanded of us in those games.

“Over the course of the tournament, we’ll definitely have to win at least one or two really close games that will be decided by centimetres or an individual.

“But that’s what football is all about, especially at a World Cup. As a player, I want to be on the pitch for those kinds of games.”

Reus marked his return from a long-term injury with seven goals in 11 games for Dortmund – and he intends to make a major impact with Germany at the World Cup.

Oliver Bierhoff

General manager Oliver Bierhoff has warned Germany against complacency.

“I definitely want to help the team on the pitch. When the tournament starts, I’ll be 29. I know what I’m capable of,” Reus added on www.dfb.de.

“The coach will decide who plays and every player has to respect his decisions. Like in every tournament, for every individual and for us as a team, it’ll come down to fine details.”

Germany’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff warned that there can be no complacency from the squad in Russia.

He said at a press conference on Friday: “We all feel like doing something great, but the team is aware this will be the toughest World Cup, because we will be the hunted.

“Every other team can only win against us, and will enjoy putting us on the back foot. We can only survive in Russia if we start with a clear objective from day one.”

Most popular

Devout Muslim Paul Pogba posts video of pilgrimage to Mecca

David Cooper 23/05/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba expressed his delight in visiting Mecca, the holy site of Islam in Saudi Arabia, through an Instagram video on Tuesday.

Pogba will soon join up with the France squad as the World Cup gets underway on June 14.

And the devout Muslim has found time ahead of the tournament to make a pilgrimage to Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Only the person that comes here can understand the feeling,” the 25-year-old Manchester United star said in an Instagram video from the holy city of Mecca.

“This a beautiful place — beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And the feeling… I cannot even explain to you.”

Allah u akbar .God is the greatest ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ•‹

A post shared by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

Most popular