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Cesc Fabregas is backing Raheem Sterling to exploit Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini and claims England are favourites to beat Italy and win Euro 2020.
Sterling has been one of the standout stars of the tournament and has been tipped to win the Golden Ball award for best player.
He will likely play a key role for the Three Lions if they are to beat the Azzurri at Wembley and end 55 years of hurt.
The Manchester City star already has goals against Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany to his name, while he proved to be the decisive factor in the dramatic victory over Denmark.
Raheem Sterling has been one of the stars of Euro 2020
(Image: Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate has a major decision over who is handed the right-sided attacking berth, but on the opposite flank Sterling is the obvious starter.
And Fabregas thinks the Italian centre-back pairing’s penchant for playing on the front foot could play into England and Sterling’s hands.
"Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, they love going on the front foot but they hate balls behind them and that’s why I think Raheem Sterling will be so, so important once again with his speed, especially if he can go in between the full-back and the centre-back on the Chiellini side. He can have a lot of joy,” Fabregas told the Telegraph.
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“Look at the goal of Alvaro Morata for Spain or the chance for Mikel Oyarzabal, there are these little spaces behind the Italy defence when someone goes behind the defenders and they have to run deep.
“I think these runs are a strength of England because they have great passers in the final third with Mason Mount, even Harry Kane when he drops deep and Jack Grealish and Phil Foden when they get on to the pitch.”
Cesc Fabregas believes England are the favourites in Sunday's final
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Fabregas’ old manager Jose Mourinho made a similar observation suggesting Spain offered England a blueprint on how to hurt them in defensive areas.
"I think Gareth did watch and for sure rewatch Italy v Spain. It was the match where Italy had more difficulties,” Mourinho told talkSPORT.
"They played without a 9. It was difficult for Italy to cope with it. I can see Harry Kane doing that a lot, dropping and being away from Bonucci and Chillelini.
"Kane does that better than anyone, I can only remember Harry and Benzema. With Harry dropping is the way for England to dominate."
As for a prediction, Cesc Fabregas forecasted that England’s extra firepower off the bench could make the difference.
“England have top, top quality from the start and from the substitutes’ bench, and I know people will say the final is 50/50 but I think if you consider all the things together, then England are a little bit the favourites for me. They tick all the boxes.”
Buy the official Euro 2020 final match programme here.