AHEAD of EURO 2020, who better to speak to about it than a man who’s played at a European Championships himself?
QPR club ambassador and former England international Andy Sinton – who represented the Three Lions at Euro 1992 – gives us his pre-tournament thoughts on a whole host of topics.
How much are you looking forward to EURO 2020?
I can’t wait! The only thing missing is stadiums being at full capacity because of the situation we’re in right now.
But once the tournament gets underway I'm sure it'll bring the nation together and, having gone through what we’ve gone through in the last year or so, let’s hope it’s a great tournament that excites people and gets everybody back in love with football.
Hopefully there’ll be lots of attacking football, lots of goals and lots of exciting moments that will live long in the memory and let’s hope England do well because it will give the nation a huge, huge lift.
What’s your first EUROS memory?
The first one that really sticks out in my mind is 1988 when Marco van Basten scored that unbelievable volley in the final from a ridiculous angle. I’m sure there are memories before that, but that’s the first one that comes to my head.
You never get fed up of watching that goal!
What’s your favourite EUROS memory?
I was lucky enough to be selected to represent my country at a major tournament so that would undoubtedly be my favourite moment, my proudest moment and a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
As a fan sitting at home, it would have to be 1996 watching England under Terry Venables when I thought we were really unlucky not to win it – losing on penalties after extra-time to West Germany and Gazza being an inch away from winning us the game.
It just showed me the fine margins of success and just missing out, which were there for everyone to see.
How far do you think England will go?
I’m really looking forward to seeing how we’ll do. We go into this one with good expectation but not overboard expectation.
I think Gareth Southgate’s done an amazing job of promoting youth, playing people who are in form rather than because of the club they play for and how many caps they’ve got.
We’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience, but my only worry if I had to be honest would be about us slightly defensively against the better teams.
I don’t know how far will go but I’m really looking forward to seeing how we do.
Who excites you most in this England team?
We’ve got an abundance of really good talent.
Jack Grealish has come on leaps and bounds in the last year and is now showing at the highest level the talent everyone knew that he had. So he’s one, if he plays.
Phil Foden is another one I can’t wait to see. For someone so young is an outstanding, exceptional talent. You’ve seen him on the biggest stage with his club Manchester City where he hasn’t been fazed by anything and has performed really well.
Harry Kane too. If he can stay fit, he guarantees you goals – a bit like us with Charlie Austin. He also gives you leadership qualities and experience.
Raheem Sterling. There’s a bit of talk about him going off the boil but we all know what he can do on his day.
There’s just four and there are others you can put in the mix. That ilk of player is capable of unlocking any defence and winning any games. If all those, or some of those, were to fire together then our chances become a lot greater.
Who would be your tip to win?
There’s probably six or seven teams that could win it. And once you get into the knockout stages, as we’ve seen over the years, anything can happen.
France, if you look right throughout their team, have real quality.
Belgium, player for player, have probably the best squad there but never really seem to deliver but I expect there’ll be there or thereabouts.
And whatever the tournament is, I never write Germany off. They’ve got that tournament mentality so I expect they’ll go far.
Looking at possible outsiders, you’ve got Denmark who have some good players. I’d put England in the mix too.
But if you were pinning me down, I’d say the winners would come from France or Belgium.
How proud are you to see QPR pair Lyndon Dykes and Niko Hamalainen involved – and what would be your advice to them?
To get picked for your country at a major tournament is one hell of an achievement.
Lyndon pretty much mirrored QPR’s season. He struggled a bit in the first half of the season in terms of his goals output which any centre forward is rightly or wrongly judged on, but he still put a shift in for the team and never went hiding. He kept working hard and he got his rewards in the second half of the season.
His form in the second half, just like the team, was exceptional. He scored plenty of goals, his all-round play was excellent and everyone was delighted for him.
He got himself into the Scotland team and is almost a regular now. I really hope he does well, apart from when he plays England of course! I hope he has a good game but I hope Scotland are on the losing side – that’s the kindest thing I can say!
Niko’s a young player still making his way in the game, still trying to become a regular for his club but we all see the potential in him.
All I’d say to both of them is to go and embrace it, enjoy everything about the tournament and, if you get the nod to play, don’t let the games pass you by. You’ve worked your socks off to get there and now you’re going to be playing against some of the best players in the world, so go and enjoy it.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how they get on and everyone at QPR wishes them well.
Keep an eye on QPR’s social media channels to see how our #EuroRs fare, whilst we’ll also be following their progress right here on qpr.co.uk.