England '˜may surprise a few' - Wigan Athletic chief

Wigan Athletic CEO Jonathan Jackson feels England may '˜surprise a few people' as they and Roberto Martinez's Belgium prepare to enter the World Cup.

Monday, 18th June 2018, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 3:36 pm

The Three Lions open up against Tunisia, just hours after Martinez and the Belgians face Panama in Group G.

Jackson feels both sides will have little difficulty making the knockout stages – and believes that could be just the start.

“I have to be patriotic and I always support England, and I have a sneaking feeling they might surprise a few people with the pace and energy in the squad,” he told the Wigan Post.

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“With young players you get less fear, and they will also have the advantage of expectation levels being quite low.

“Gareth Southgate’s an excellent manager who’ll prepare the team very well, and with the likes of (Harry) Kane, (Dele) Alli, (Raheem) Sterling...who knows?

“It will obviously be difficult against Belgium, that will be a strange occasion, but hopefully it’s an entertaining game and they both get through.”

Wiganers will also be keeping an eye on Belgium, with Jackson offering an insight into how they’ll fare under the ex-Latics boss.

“I was speaking to him recently and, given the players at his disposal, he has a real opportunity to make history,” Jackson added. “Winning the FA Cup here was incredible and, as Mr Whelan always said, he was destined to manage at the very top.

“Roberto’s a fine ambassador for the club and the town, and he will be looking forward to the challenge.”