RIGOBERT SONG has warned England they will struggle to achieve World Cup glory unless key players such as David Beckham are fully fit.
And fellow Cameroon player Marc-Vivien Foe believes that Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team will also be at a disadvantage because the strongest side have seldom played together.
It is not the gloomy forecast that Eriksson would have been hoping for ahead of Sunday’s opening game with Sweden.
England needed a last-gasp goal on Sunday from Robbie Fowler to avoid defeat against the African champions who will now tackle the trouble-torn Republic of Ireland in their first game.
Song, who is still with West Ham despite being loaned out to German side Koln last season, said: “We know England have a lot of injuries – and if they do not get their injured players back then they will struggle.
“They have a lot of players who need to be fit for them to have a good chance and in particular David Beckham.
“We know what Beckham can do in a game, how he can change it around in a second, and without him it would be a little bit difficult for England.”
Former Hammers play Foe, now with Lyon, said: “I think England have a big problem because they haven’t played the same players together for a long time.
“That makes it so difficult for some players. If they are going to be strong team, they just need to keep the same players. Maybe England have too many young players.”
Foe believes that the Cameroon have been handed a big plus with the absence of Roy Keane from the Republic squad.
(c) Liverpool Daily Post & Mail, 2002.
Source: LIVERPOOL POST 28/05/2002 P30