By News Team
Last Updated: 6th July 2021
Former England goalkeeper David Seaman has revealed that he thinks Three Lions attacker Raheem Sterling is underappreciated and the in-form Manchester City star stands a great chance of winning the Player of the Tournament at the European Championship.
Seaman highlighted Sterling for yet another excellent performance for England as they defeated Ukraine 4-0 on Saturday in Rome, and also said it’s the first time he’s been comfortable watching a match involving Gareth Southgate’s side at the tournament.
He told William Hill: “It was one of the most relaxing performances to watch, that’s for sure! It was great to get that early goal. Even though they got the early goal, I was still wanting them to push on and get that second goal in the first half but they played around at the back and kept possession. That’s great but it doesn’t do anything for your nerves!
“You obviously still think there’s a chance Ukraine could get the equaliser, but we managed to get the second goal early in the second half which was brilliant.
“I still think the Germany result and performance was better given the quality of the opposition. I was a little disappointed in Ukraine, if I’m honest, but it was still a great performance by England.”
Seaman has been a big supporter of Harry Kane throughout this tournament, and Southgate’s decision to keep him in the side has paid dividends in the knockout rounds as he chipped in with another two goals on Saturday to add to the strike against Germany on Tuesday.
Kane is now one goal away from levelling the amount scored by Gary Lineker at major tournaments, and Seaman thinks having the Spurs striker is a huge bonus for the Three Lions as they continue their progression at the Euros this summer.
He said: “He’s still got a long way to go to emulate Wayne Rooney, but when you look at Harry you just see goals. He’s always in and around that area, and that’s where he got his goals the other day. That’s where most of our goals have come from, in and around the six-yard area. Even Raheem’s goals, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson’s goals have been in that area, and that’s where you want Harry (Kane) to be.
“I’m always impressed with Harry, no matter how much stick he gets. He wasn’t scoring and contributing, but to come back and score against Germany, and then get two on Saturday (against Ukraine) was great.
“You can’t not mention Raheem because his performances throughout the tournament have been excellent. He’s chipping in with goals, assists, and assists for assists. His little back flick was amazing, and if it was any other player everyone would all be talking about it but because it’s Raheem nobody seems to be talking about it, but it was a brilliant assist.”
He also expects Sterling to be in with a good chance of securing the Player of the Tournament gong if England do manage to reach the final this weekend.
Seaman added: “He is (in with a chance of winning player of the tournament) if we progress. If we get past Denmark and then get to the final, then he’s got a great chance. I think it all depends on who wins (the Euros) as if Italy get there then they’ve got a few contenders as well.
“There’s two great games in the semi-finals. Everyone is expecting England to get through because we’re a better team man-for-man. It’s who turns up on the day.
“There’s still more to come from England, because when you look at that squad, I still feel there’s a really good performance due, but hopefully we don’t need to use it on Wednesday and we can save it for the final.”
The former Arsenal goalie also thinks the team have more belief than other teams, and that comes across on and off the pitch at the moment.
He said “They’re getting more belief now. They’re coming off the back of a World Cup semi-final, and now they’re in the semi-final of the European Championship, and that gives them great performances and belief.
“Our Euro ’96 team felt that they could win it. In 2000, it wasn’t as good as we thought we could be, especially coming off the back of ’96 and the 1998 World Cup. But it’s the belief the players have got now and they’re quietly confident when you hear them in interviews.
“They know there’s two really big games coming up now and they’re taking it in their stride, but they’re oozing with confidence.”
England fans can expect a high tempo match according to Seaman, given the way Denmark close teams down off the ball, but expects this to play into the Three Lions’ hands.
He said: “It’ll be a high tempo match because Denmark do a really good press when they lose possession. They chase the ball down, so England won’t have a great amount of time on the ball but that might suit us. It might open them up at the back, and we’ve got great pace with Raheem, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.
“I feel if we play our game then we’ve got nothing to be worried about. I feel we’re better than them in every department so it’s all about how we play.
“The only change I’d possibly make is Saka to come back in for Sancho. Other than that, there wouldn’t be a change because Mason Mount is trusted in that position and Gareth has picked him whenever he’s been available. That’s the only change but that depends on how Saka recovers from his knock, so we’ll see.
“Whatever Gareth goes with has been working brilliantly, so we’ll have to see how things go.”
Seaman mentioned last week that he’d exchanged texts with his old team-mate Southgate after the Germany game, and he is now texting him after each victory as a good luck charm for the team.
He said: “I’ve just texted him to say ‘well done to you and the lads’, because I feel if I don’t text him it jinxes it! We’re just mates texting, so it’s some of that and to help with my superstitions too!”
Seaman added: “I think Gareth will be telling them to just play their game and that they’ve got the chance to make history. They’re already doing that by getting to two different semi-finals. I love Gareth’s confidence, as he came out at the start of the tournament and said anything less than a semi-final would be a huge disappointment, so that says a lot about the confidence he has in his players and the squad as a whole.
“We just need to get one step further. If we get to a final against Italy or Spain then it’ll be a different proposition, but he just needs to tell them to keep doing what they’re doing because they’re playing with confidence and every new player that comes on is like an added bonus because the quality in the squad is brilliant.”