Football

Gheorghe Hagi spent a combined four years at both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Gheorghe Hagi has a surprise choice for England's best player

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As a technically-gifted and exciting midfield talent, former Romania international Gheorghe Hagi enjoyed a fine career which involved featuring in the colours of both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Having been likened to the great Argentinian Diego Maradona, in the past, it gives an idea to more recent generations how truly talented Hagi was, before his retirement at Galatasaray in 2001.

So when he was quizzed who his favourite England player was, you would be forgiven for expecting him to name one of the Three Lions attacking talents - Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford or perhaps Raheem Sterling.

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But, instead, the 51-year-old made a far more interesting selection by naming a more defensive-minded player as his favourite England player - who will most likely feature for England in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Friday night.

As per The Sun, Hagi said: “The best player in my opinion now is the Tottenham player, he protects the defence.

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“Eric Dier. I like his personality, he’s a leader.”

The 22-year-old has certainly blossomed in the Premier League, since returning to England from Sporting Lisbon - where he graduated through the Portuguese club's youth system.

Despite not being at the attacking end of the spectrum for Spurs, Dier scored on his Premier League debut for the club in 2014, against West Ham.

Matured

But although he will not be the man Mauricio Pochettino goes in search of goals for at White Hart Lane, the England star has matured significantly for a player who is still very much in the early stages of his career.

And Hagi also admitted that is a big fan of another of England's defensive players, who made the headlines this summer with a big-money move to Manchester City.

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“Dele Alli, Harry Kane and the one Manchester City took, not Raheem Sterling, no." Hagi added.

“Stones. John Stones.”

Despite their having been a rise in optimism for England, ahead of this summer's European Championships, with the large plethora of young talent that was at Roy Hodgson's disposal, the Three Lions endured an abysmal campaign.

Surprised

But Hagi insists time is on the players' side and that it will allow England to rectify the mistakes made during the summer.

“I was very surprised by Euro 2016 because England had a very young team,” Hagi added.

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“England have many young players under 23 who play in their first teams (at club level). It’s amazing. Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal, these clubs invest in their young players.

“And the national team, with the quality of these players, is a very good team.”

And England's young and less experienced stars will have the chance to make amends for this summer's failures by beating England's Auld enemy Scotland on Friday night, captained by the Three Lions' all-time top goalscorer, Wayne Rooney.

Will England's young players be experienced enough, come the start of the 2018 World Cup, to deal with the pressures of featuring for the Three Lions? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Topics:
England Football
Football
Eric Dier
Marcus Rashford
Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur
John Stones
Daniel Sturridge
Raheem Sterling

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