England have given France some food for thought after thrashing Senegal.. and BOTH sides have that extra gear


WE’VE certainly given France plenty to worry about after another excellent win out in Qatar.

We took Senegal apart with some superb football going forward and, once again, we had immense players in the likes of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka.


England celebrate a goal against SenegalCredit: Getty

But let’s hear it, too, for the men who allowed them to play that way, Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice.

You hear fans criticising almost every time the Liverpool skipper gets selected — but his team-mates know how important he is.

Jordan gives the team that extra insurance and he is also capable of popping up on the end of things, as he did for the opening goal.

It’s going to be some game against the French.

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I was really impressed with them in their 3-1 win over Poland earlier in the day.

I reckon they can still go up another gear but then I think that about us, too.

There is so much quality on both sides.

If I have one criticism of our performances so far, it’s that we have been starting slowly. I get that we probably don’t want to go all gung-ho from the off and risk going behind but I don’t want us to make a habit of it.

Against Senegal it took us a while to get going and they did create some openings but they were not clinical.

Their front three had a similar pace to the French but without the quality. It might be a different story with the skill and finishing ability that Didier Deschamps’ side have.

It’s obvious Kylian Mbappe is one of the best players in the world.

He’s lightning quick and it will be a big test for Kyle Walker, who is one of the quickest fullbacks around.

Mbappe’s finishing is also top drawer, as he proved with his double against the Poles.

I’ve enjoyed watching Adrien Rabiot in their midfield, too — a player who has often been linked with a move to England but nobody has taken a chance on him here.

Maybe he wouldn’t have even started had Paul Pogba or N’Golo Kante been fit for this World Cup.

They’ve also got Real Madrid ace Eduardo Camavinga on the subs’ bench, who is a Champions League winner.

So when we’re talking about our strength in depth, we shouldn’t forget theirs either.

If I have one criticism of our performances so far, it’s that we have been starting slowly. I get that we probably don’t want to go all gung-ho from the off and risk going behind but I don’t want us to make a habit of it.

Jack Wilshere

Look, too, at how well Antoine Griezmann is playing in that slightly deeper role he now occupies in midfield rather than as a striker. He seems so comfortable there.

And what about my old Arsenal team-mate Olivier Giroud.

If anything, the AC Milan striker has got better since moving to Italy and leaving the Premier League behind where he struggled to get a starting place.

He’s in his mid-30s but he’s in the shape of his life and his finish for the first goal against Poland was real class.

But before I scare everyone to death, we also have plenty in our armoury and will have France worried with the way we’ve been hitting teams hard on the break and scoring our goals in clusters.

It’s great that Harry Kane has got off the mark.

Whatever strikers say about it not mattering if they don’t score as long as they’re contributing and the team is winning, they want goals. It’s their job.

Harry will feel there’s a bit of pressure off his shoulders now. It was a thunderbolt strike for his goal and one we all enjoyed.

In the 2018 World Cup, there were plenty of people who thought England got lucky with the draw and felt that was a contributing factor in us reaching the semi-finals.

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Well, nobody will be able to level that one at us this time. France in the quarter-finals is probably as tough as it gets.

Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe are France's danger men


Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe are France’s danger menCredit: AP

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