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Glenn Hoddle claims England can win Euro 2020 – but he harbours significant concern about Gareth Southgate's over-reliance on two of his players.
And the former Three Lions boss has highlighted there is rival nation which will go close at the summer tournament despite receiving few plaudits in the build-up.
Euro 2020 kicks-off on Friday night as Italy host Turkey at Stadio Olimpico, with the Azzurri unbeaten in their last 27 games under manager Roberto Mancini.
Hoddle believes Italy go into the tournament without the praise they deserve, placing them in the same bracket as England while singling out World Cup-holders France as the team to beat.
Hoddle has tipped Italy to have a strong tournament
Speaking at a Betfair event, the former Tottenham and Chelsea midfielder told Mirror Football : "They (England) can win it.
"This is a team that can win it with home advantage – if we win the group, we stay at Wembley. But if they’re going to win it, they’ll have to take on France at some stage, or Portugal."
Hoddle added: "England are in a batch of Portugal, Germany, Spain and Italy – they might well be dark horses, they’ve sneaked in under the radar.
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"So we’re in that secondary batch who can win it. We’ve got the offensive players to win it, it’s whether they can produce it out there on that pitch under pressure."
Although Hoddle has high hopes for England's crop of gifted attackers, he is worried about the Three Lions' lack of depth in defensive midfield and at centre-back.
Discussing the injury sustained by Trent Alexander-Arnold, he said: "If ever there was a position we were going to get an injury, it wasn’t a bad thing it was a right-back because we had four of them.
How do you rate England and Italy's chances at Euro 2020? Comment below.
"Gareth Southgate’s been unlucky losing such a good player but he’s been a bit lucky it’s in that position. If it had been Declan Rice, I’d have been really concerned and Gareth would as well.
"I don’t think he [Alexander-Arnold] would have played in a back four, he would have played [as a wing-back] with a three-man defence. That is a big miss for us.
"It seems to be a nagging thing that happens with us going to tournaments, there’s always a a key player who gets injured.
Hoddle is concerned about England's over-reliance on Maguire and Rice
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
"He’s now waiting on Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, I think it’s a risk putting Henderson in the team at this moment of time with the lack of football he’s had."
Turning his attention to England's opener against Croatia on Sunday, Hoddle added: "Yes, Rice has proved he’s fit and he’s gotten over his injury.
"But a lot hinges on Harry Maguire, whether we go with three or a four [in defence]. That first game, he could go with a three whether he’s fit or not, he goes with a bit of security.
"We cannot lose that game, the last thing you want in any tournament is to lose your first game.
"Particularly in the Euros, because you haven’t got a Panama to play against. In the Euros, you’re going straight in at the last 16 equivalent of the World Cup.
"In many ways, at the beginning of the tournament, the Euros are much stronger than the World Cup."
This Euros Betfair is now offering No Cash Out Suspensions on Match Odds markets, find out more here: https://betting.betfair.com/football/euro-2020/