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Charlton: England won't win 2014 WC

Tuesday 4th September 2012

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Sir Bobby Charlton: England are 'way off' winning the World Cup

Sir Bobby Charlton: England are 'way off' winning the World Cup

Sir Bobby Charlton has written off Roy Hodgson's hopes of leading England to 2014 World Cup glory.

Hodgson takes charge of his first qualifying match in Moldova on Friday, but while his side are favourites to top qualifying Group H, 1966 hero Charlton claimed further trophy success for the national team was "a way off".

The England and Manchester United legend said in the foreword to a new book entitled, 'England Centurions': "They haven't got a lot of top-quality players to choose from and, because of that, you must feel it is going to be difficult to win things.

"You cannot see it happening in Brazil at the next World Cup, for instance.

"Perhaps, if the right group of players come together and stay together for a while and gel into a team, with the right manager, then perhaps it might happen, but I have to be honest and say it's a way off.

"Since the European Union and the influx of so many foreign players, there is a definite shortage of English players from which the England manager can select, it has become far more difficult.

"I feel sorry for the England manager, whoever he is, as he simply doesn't have enough players to choose from."

Many believe England's hopes of success in the near future lie with Wayne Rooney, who has flopped at every major tournament since he exploded onto the international stage at the 2004 European Championship.

"It is up to the England manager to find a way of bringing the best out of him at international level, and how best to handle him," said Charlton, who backed Rooney to break his England goalscoring record.

"He is handled very well at Manchester United, and I am sure it will evolve with England and if that is the case I feel sure that Wayne is the player most capable of breaking my record of 49 goals, which has stood the test of time."

Rooney currently has 29 international goals and Charlton added: "If anyone is going to get the record then it's going to be Wayne Rooney. He's good enough and he is still young enough.

"No matter how much I might like being the top goalscorer, I will be pleased when someone breaks it, particularly if it's Wayne. I would congratulate them. It is certainly a record to treasure."

:: 'England Centurions' is published on September 11 and will be launched at Wembley Stadium before the England v Ukraine World Cup qualifier.

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