The Three Lions are looking to go all the way in this summer’s tournament and will be looking to the Tottenham striker for inspiration

Rio Ferdinand believes Harry Kane and Jordan Pickford are the two players who are going to be key to England’s chances of success at the European Championship.

Gareth Southgate’s side are looking to improve on their semi-final finish at World Cup 2018, with the Three Lions facing Croatia on Sunday in their Euro 2020 opener.

And while Ferdinand has named France as the favourites to win the competition, he believes the Three Lions are capable of reaching the latter stages.

What’s been said? 

Asked by Goal who he thinks Southgate’s key men will be, Ferdinand replied: “I think Kane, your talisman, your captain, you need him fit and firing. If he’s fit and firing England have a chance to do really good things.”

The former Manchester United centre-back also believes that Pickford, who is set to start in goal at Wembley on Sunday, will have a big role to play. 

Ferdinand added: “I was with Thierry [Henry] earlier and he brought up a very good point that you need a very good goalkeeper. I think Pickford proved in the last tournament that he likes the big occasion in an England shirt and if he can hit that type of form again then I think England have a chance.”

Ferdinand’s players to watch at Euro 2020

There will be plenty of exciting talent on display at this summer’s showpiece and Ferdinand believes the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Joao Felix have the chance to light up the tournament.

He said: “From England the wide players that we’ve got, there’s probably five or six that could get picked and you’d be delighted if any of them got in. If [Jude] Bellingham gets time you want to see that.

“I like young players and seeing young players get opportunities. Obviously Mbappe, you want to see him flying at a tournament like this, you want [Cristiano] Ronaldo to go out on a high, he could provide us with some great moments.

“But I’d like to see someone like Joao Felix do well. I like the young ones, I was there when Michael Owen burst onto the scene and I saw what it did, not only for him but for football in general and you love to see it.”

Ferdinand backs France & Portugal to go far

“I think France’s reserve team could probably get close to winning it!” Ferdinand said. “Portugal [should do well], with the players that we see in the Premier League and some of the other players.

“They’ve got a really strong spine in that team with Bernardo Silva, and [Ruben] Dias, Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes backing up Ronaldo… you’ve got the mix of a really good team there, [Diogo] Jota as well. So they’re going to be a really good team. 

“Turkey are a dark horse to get into the latter stages. I think they’ve got some very good young players as well, performing well across Europe. Obviously England as well, I want them to do well!”

Rio Ferdinand is part of the BBC football team. Follow Euro 2020 on the BBC across TV, radio and online this summer.

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