EXCLUSIVE : United Legend ‘England Face Battle Against Italy’

Manchester United legend Gordon Hill feels England face a struggle ahead of their World Cup opener tomorrow.

Much has been made of their preparation in Miami over the last two weeks but Hill says he would have done the same. “We’ll only really know how poor the preparation was from the performances but it’s difficult to criticise Roy because I feel like I would have done the same”, Hill says. “I know he’s got a bit of stick because of how everything unfolded in Florida but he wasn’t the only one who took his team into North America for acclimatisation.”

Hill believes that even with that focus on the training camp, it could all count for nothing anyway. “He (Roy) could have spent 3 weeks or 6 months in Brazil and the only thing that really makes a difference is whether England players are getting the right amount of exposure to the sun in Brazil, because let me say it now, if they aren’t and they’re caught by surprise by it, it will show very quickly”, said the former United winger. “That’s when you get zapped of all your energy. It takes a lot of getting used to.”

“Merlin” – whose autobiography of the same name is out next month, also downplayed the tabloid reports of Gary Neville’s notes being published on the front page. “Games are not won in notebooks”, the United legend insisted.

England face Italy tomorrow and Hill is not overly optimistic about the Three Lions chances. “It should be quite a battle – I wouldn’t necessarily say that Italy are the favourites, however, I would say that they might be a little better prepared to play in the heat than what we are”, he said. “I think it’ll be a close game, but one that England will do well to get something from as I think Uruguay will prove very stiff opposition.”

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