Exclusive Interview: Harry Redknapp & Clayton Blackmore – Predictions for England VS Wales at Euro 2016
Ahead of England vs Wales at the Euro 2016, we at Champions Speakers spoke exclusively to former Portsmouth and QPR manager Harry Redknapp about England’s chances, and former Wales midfielder Clayton Blackmore on his country’s hope for the title.
Both were fairly impressed with how their teams performed in the first round of matches, with England having to settle for a point after conceding a late equaliser against Russia, and Wales coming out 2-1 winners over Slovakia in a hard-fought battle at the Stade de Bordeaux.
Check out Clayton and Harry’s predictions for the upcoming match, which team has performed the best, and who they think will win the Euro 2016.
Q: What did you think of England’s performance against Russia?
Harry: “I thought England played well. We dominated the game for 89 minutes so it was of course a shame to concede so late as we could easily have won by a good two or three goals had we been a bit more clinical in front of goal.”
“Russia are a very poor team. They are old and slow; a very poor outfit and I can’t see them qualifying. They had very little to offer and are one of the weakest teams I’ve seen in an international tournament for a long time.”
Q: And Wales, how do you think they faired against Slovakia?
Clayton: “It was fantastic, and to be the first British club to win their first game in a Euro Championship final at our first appearance is brilliant. It was very important to get the win, with England and Russia drawing, and have those three points on the board.”
“Slovakia did play well, and we had a bit of good luck along the way but deserved the win in the end. They do say you make your own luck though and I think Ben Davies with his sliding block off the goal line set us up for the rest of the game.”
Q: Are you excited about England vs Wales on Thursday?
Harry: “I’m really looking forward to it. They have some really good players, of course, there’s Gareth Bale, but I also think Ramsey is an outstanding player. I’m a big fan of Williams at centre half too as he’s big, strong and a good leader. I do like the look of the Welsh team and I think they’ll qualify from the group, but I think England will be too strong in this one.”
Clayton: “I never played against England when I was playing for Wales but on the last couple of occasions, we’ve played against them I remember Wales being fairly poor. I hope they perform better on Thursday, but I think if England can contain Gareth Bale and keep him quiet, we may have some problems.”
Q: What do you think of either side’s chosen line-up?
Clayton: “I wouldn’t change anything from the way we set up against Slovakia. I’d keep the same shape too but obviously Joe Ledley came on and helped set up the goal, however, there’s no way he can be 100% fit yet. To come back so quickly from a leg fracture, it’s quite remarkable that he’s there at all.”
“There’s Robson-Kanu too who obviously came on and grabbed the winning goal on Saturday. He’s strong, quick and can get in behind defences so there are some good options for Chris Coleman to consider.”
Harry: “There has been talk of leaving Sterling out, but how do you balance the team? The way they play with wing-backs should mean that our full-backs, who love to get forward, can cause problems. We should be able to get in two against one situation all day long.”
Q: Who do you think will lift the Euro 2016 trophy?
Harry: “I still think England have got a good chance. Spain keep the ball great; France will be right there, and Belgium have got the players so could do well. You also can’t forget about Germany in the big tournaments.”
Clayton: “You can’t look past Germany who are the World Cup holders and have a very strong side. They pass the ball so well and are going to score goals. France could do well too with home advantage, and I’d like to see them progress as they are due some good luck after the events of recent months.”
“I’ve said before the tournament started that I could see a France vs. Germany final, but maybe we could get England vs. Wales, you never know!”
There is no doubt that the final whistle at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Thursday afternoon should give us all a much clearer idea on the possible outcome of Group B, and the prospects for both England and Wales as Euro 2016 progresses over the coming weeks.
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