GERMANY star Antonio Rudiger claims England’s immense range of attacking options make them serious contenders for winning the World Cup.
One of world football’s most feared defenders, Rudiger witnessed the blossoming of English talent at close quarters during his five years at Chelsea – a time when the Three Lions were once again becoming a force in football.
And Rudiger, who has now joined European champions Real Madrid, was impressed by the quality and depth of boss Gareth Southgate’s squad in Tuesday’s Nations League draw in Munich.
For decades, the Germans always seemed to be England’s number one in major tournaments.
But Rudiger saw a turn of the tide last summer when he played in Germany’s 2-0 defeat by Southgate’s men in the last 16 of the Euros – in what was England’s first knockout win over their bitter rivals since the 1966 World Cup.
And central defender Rüdiger, 29, said: “Maybe we always beat you before – but of course I can remember the last time you beat us.
“There is great quality in this England squad. It’s like Bukayo Saka comes out, Jack Grealish comes in. I’ve seen a lot of big, big names sit on the England bench.
“England have every reason to be optimistic about the future.
“I guess you guys don’t need to worry too much.
“You have to think of it this way – players like Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho didn’t even make the squad.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP OFFERS – THE BEST OFFERS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
“That tells you that you have a lot of depth.
“And then you also have some big, big players like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Grealish.
“All these big names and big players.”
Rudiger now also believes England can hurt teams with their substitutes during the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on November 21.
The former Roma ace saw Grealish, Manchester City’s £100million boy, change tack in Munich on Tuesday, resulting in Kane’s late equalizer from the penalty spot.
Rüdiger said: “The English submarines can be very dangerous.
“I think Grealish had a real impact on us. He came into play and was good in one-on-one situations.
“He’s very dangerous – and those types of players will win you games.
“I think before Grealish came we were the more dominant team, although there were changes at both ends and our keeper Manuel Neuer made a big save before the penalty.”
Rudiger’s spell in English football has ended after he left Chelsea, the side he won the Champions League with last year, for Real, the current European champions.
When asked what he would miss most about English football, he replied: “The toughness.”
And he didn’t mean so much the physicality, which Rüdiger naturally always enjoyed, but the competitiveness of every Premier League game.
He said: “It’s just that in every single game you can’t underestimate the team you’re playing against – and that’s what I’ll miss the most.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5529593/england-world-cup-contenders-antonio-rudiger/ ‘All these big names and big players’ – Antonio Rudiger says England are serious contenders for winning the World Cup