MIAMI - Former captain David Beckham says he is “excited” by the young England squad which arrived in Brazil on Sunday ahead of the World Cup.
Speaking to a small group of reporters in Miami, Beckham said he was glad to see England manager Roy Hodgson opt for a young squad and believes there is no danger of them being overawed by the World Cup.
“There are some really good young players in the England squad and the fact that Roy has gone for that group makes it exciting. We’ve got the experienced players in there as well,” said Beckham who played 115 times for his country.
“I’ve heard people ask ‘will the young players be ready for a stage like this?’
“They are playing in the biggest league in the world week-in, week-out, I don’t see why they will go over there and be afraid.
“They are confident players, that is what you get with young players, the confidence - they won’t be scared to go out there and play,” he said.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, who is currently working towards a new Major League Soccer team in Miami, said he was particularly impressed by Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana.
“Lallana is a great talent, he plays with the flair of a kid who just goes out there and plays. The games I’ve seen him play in for England he has stepped into a role and clearly deserves to be here,” said Beckham.
“Daniel Sturridge has obviously had a great season and I think he is a talent that can hurt people.
“Hopefully Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can recover from his injury, it doesn’t seem as bad as people thought at the time. He showed against Ecuador on Wednesday that he is the threat I think we need,“ he added.
“We have a strong team going into this tournament, once we get in there, settle down and hopefully get a good result agianst Italy we can hopefully push on from there.“
Beckham’s former team-mate Wayne Rooney has yet to score in eight World Cup games for England and some have questioned whether he should be an automatic selection for Hodgson, but Beckham said he had full faith in the player he calls ‘Wazza’.
“I always back Wazza because I think he is a great talent and a great player for England. He turns up and always gives everything for England and I think the fans realize that. It is about confidence, as with all strikers and the games I’ve seen of United this season, he was the shining light.
“He has always been more about just scoring goals. He is a goalscorer but he works hard for the team and that’s what his game has always been about.
“If he doesn’t score, he is assisting or creating or working hard for team. I think for opposing teams to see Wayne Rooney on a team sheet - that scares them,“ he said.
England kick-off their Group D campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14.