Alan Pardew has ridiculously claimed that ‘four or five’ England players could get in France’s Euro 2016 final side – though tellingly he does not come up with any names.
Pardew – ‘writing’ in the Daily Mail – says that ‘with the exception of Antoine Griezmann, who is the stand-out player for them, they aren’t better than England’.
The Crystal Palace manager only namechecks Dele Alli and Harry Kane, who he presumably believes are superior to Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud, so it is not clear whether he favours Joe Hart over Hugo Lloris or Gary Cahill over Samuel Umtiti.
He says: ‘The celebration of France as a football team is fair enough, but I still think four or five England players could get in their side.
And that is why the players who lost to Iceland will be feeling a huge sense of loss as the final of this competition is played out on Sunday. A missed opportunity.
Poor results in this tournament do not make England a poor team. There is a rich vein of quality English players and I do feel we are about to embark on a period when England will be powerful again.
‘This French team is dynamic with lots of Premier League-style quality, but with the exception of Antoine Griezmann, who is the stand-out player for them, they aren’t better than England.
‘They are the strongest and most balanced team and there is something we can learn from. They have a strong sense of togetherness and technical quality and, of course, they are still in the competition.
‘But the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane have not become bad players. There seems a nasty stain on this tournament from England’s perspective, but this young group are better than how we are viewing them.
‘As Wales have shown, too, there is not a crisis in the academies, as some have suggested. We have more investment, better coaching and improved facilities — English football is not a million miles away. I’m sure of that. Whoever gets that job will have a real chance with this batch.’