David Beckham says the timing of the World Cup in Qatar could provide England with an advantage as Gareth Southgate’s men look to end a 56-year wait for major tournament success.
The Three Lions reached Russia’s semi-finals four years ago and lost on penalties against Italy in the Euro 2020 final last year.
Poor June has resulted in two Hungarian sandwiching draws with Germany and Italy in the UEFA Nations League, but England are still ranked among the favorites of World Cup fame.
Beckham played three World Cup games while playing 115 games, but success avoided the England teams he played for.
But as England begin their Group B campaign against Iran on November 21, Beckham says the tournament time could be matched by Southgate.
“Personally I feel that, for our team, it’s a great opportunity,” he told former England and Manchester United player Gary Neville in The Overlap podcast.
“As you said, we have never used [fatigue] as an excuse [in previous tournaments], but the truth is, we have reached the end of a tough season in the Premier League – the toughest league in the world, and you are tired, you want to relax.
“You do not have that time to recover from a difficult season. But these players came to this tournament at a high level, in the middle of the season, for no reason and no reason. So that they are not at the top of their game.
“For our players, this is a great opportunity, we have a young team, an exciting team, and we have a manager who has been with these players for a long time.
“I really enjoy watching this England team play, have fun, play with dedication, play as if they want to be there. It’s something you like to see as an England fan.
“Suddenly, our fans were reunited behind the team. For a moment, I would say the fans – not to say they lost their love for the national team, but there was a breakup.
“[Now] there is a connection. And I think Gareth has done an excellent job with this team.”
Beckham also praised the current side of the Three Lions as a particularly popular one, praising players like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling for their out-of-court efforts to communicate with fans on racism and other social issues.
“There is excitement in this group,” he continued. “I’m talking about these players, they are not just footballers.
“What I love about this generation of players, especially the England, is that with the power they have on the pitch, they are trying to make a change off the pitch.
“I see the work that Marcus has done, I see the work that Raheem and the other players have done, the good that they are doing outside the game is unique, using their platform to help other people and make a difference.
“The truth is they are now helping other people and helping to educate people about racism, the things they go through every day, they make a difference and that’s why I love this team of players and this generation.”