Darren Anderton represented England on 30 occasions, scoring seven goals, and played in the 1998 World Cup in France.
In the final part of bwin’s interview, Anderton talks about the England vs Belgium game and whether Gareth Southgate’s side can top Group G.
England vs Belgium
Do you think England will top Group G?
England and Belgium are of course expected to both progress from the group stages quite comfortably. Belgium have an incredible team on paper which is full of superstars and they should be one of the favourites to win the competition, but they seem to flatter to deceive when it comes to the big tournaments. England will be hoping that trend continues. It’s a very tough game and I would expect the last group fixture to decide who finishes top.
Belgium have so many players based in the Premier League. How does this affect the dynamic?
It’s an advantage for England that so many Belgian players perform in the Premier League. Eden Hazard has the potential to be on par with [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo when he’s at his best and I think [Kevin] De Bruyne was very unlucky not to be Player of the Year last season, but it can work in our favour that we know these players so well.
What do you think are the key battles in the England vs Belgium game?
I think [Jan] Vertonghen and [Toby] Alderweireld will have a very interesting battle with Harry Kane. I would give the advantage to the defensive pair because they know what to expect from their time at Tottenham, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to stop him.
There could also be another interesting tussle between [Eric] Dier and [Mousa] Dembele in the middle of the park. They’re both very strong and powerful players. If Dier can stop Dembele, it could go a long way to decide the game.
Can you see England adopting man-marking tactics to keep Eden Hazard quiet?
Eden Hazard is one of the best players in the world, but that shouldn’t force England to adopt man-marking tactics or become overly defensive. We will play two sitting midfielders, most likely [Jordan] Henderson and Dier, and the key thing is to stop the passes into him. He’s very difficult to stop when he has the ball at his feet.
Should England consider resting players against Tunisia to ensure everyone is fresh for Belgium?
England should play their strongest team against Tunisia, no doubt about it. There shouldn’t be any thoughts about resting players for Belgium. The World Cup is the real deal and it isn’t for taking chances. Every game is a potential banana skin. Every game is a chance for players to build relationships and develop speed of pacing, timing of runs. It’s about getting the results with your best team every game.