Kevin Keegan.

Kevin Keegan believes England stand no chance at Russia 2018 if these two get injured

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Football News

It may not have been pretty, but England have booked their place in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

On the face of things, it looked as if the Three Lions had a rather comfortable progression into the World Cup finals; with qualification sealed with a game remaining.

However, this was simply not the case.

In an easy group where Slovakia provided their sternest test, England may have won through but flattered to deceive for much of the qualification campaign.

Gareth Southgate's men needed last gasp winners to defeat Slovakia in September 2016 and against Slovenia on Thursday night, whereas they also needed a last minute goal to draw against Scotland in June.

They also flattered to deceive away at Malta, with the minnows able to hold England at bay for 53 minutes.

Nevertheless, despite leaving it late, one could argue that those hard-fought results were telling of the character and determination of this England side.

But regardless of their progression, there are very few that really believe that this current crop of players have a chance of earning the nation's second World Cup trophy.

However, Kevin Keegan goes against that theory, believing that Southgate's men can follow in the footsteps of the England side of 1966 providing Harry Kane and Dele Alli stay fit.

Malta v England - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

The former England manager said: "It's important everyone stays fit. Not just Kane, but also Dele Alli.

"You want all your best players, and then you have got a chance.

"If you went to a World Cup and you took, let's say, Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens out of the great Dutch side, people would not be surprised if they lost.

"But with England, people still think you are going to win it without your two best players.

"It's being English, it's the optimism."

Keegan also revealed he once doubted Kane's ability to be a top striker, but that he has been won over in recent times due to his impressive goal-scoring record.


Keegan said: "Alan Shearer is a massive fan of Kane.

"I know from when I worked in Qatar with him he was saying how good Kane was. That was a year and a half ago and I wasn't sure.

"I said we need to have a good look at him, see if he gets the 20 or 30 goals that you were getting - and of course now he is doing that."

After securing qualification for the 2018 World Cup Finals, England will travel to Lithuania on Sunday in their last group game.

They will then have eight months preparation, before Southgate and his squad of 23 travel to Russia aiming to win the country's first piece of silverware in 52 years.

Gareth Southgate
England Football
Russia Football
Tottenham Hotspur
Kevin Keegan
Alan Shearer
World Cup

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