England hero Sir Geoff Hurst says ‘no one will jump higher’ than him if Harry Kane scores a World Cup final hat-trick as he backs Callum Wilson to seize his chance if called upon… but admits he has concerns over the defence
- England hero Sir Geoff Hurst has spoken about the team for the Qatar World Cup
- Hurst hopes that Harry Kane can score a hat-trick in the final as he did in 1966
- He has also backed Callum Wilson to seize his chance if Kane gets injured
- Sir Geoff stepped into the fold when Jimmy Greaves got injured in 1966
- He does have concerns however over England’s defence going into Qatar
England 1966 hero Sir Geoff Hurst admits ‘no one will jump higher’ than him if Harry Kane scores a hat-trick in the World Cup final and brings football home.
Hurst remains the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final and is cheering on England captain Kane to make history repeat itself.
Sir Geoff also backed Newcastle striker Callum Wilson to seize his chance if the worst should happen and Kane suffers injury – just as Hurst did in the absence of Jimmy Greaves in 1966.
Sir Geoff Hurst hopes Harry Kane repeats his feats by scoring a World Cup final hat-trick
It has been 56 years of hurt for England since they last won the World Cup in 1966 when Hurst scored a famous hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley Stadium
Gareth Southgate’s squad are looking to end England’s 56-year wait for a second World Cup triumph and Hurst believes there’s enough talent for glory in Qatar.
‘Yes,’ was Hurst’s blunt answer when asked if this England team could be the first since the boys of ’66 to win the World Cup. ‘The last few tournaments have been very good, we have a good bunch of young players and most are there again. They are all playing regularly in their club sides. He’s got a good balance of the team.
‘No one will be jumping up higher than me if England win the World Cup and Harry Kane scores three. It will be brilliant. I’ve had a damn good run! I will be as happy as anyone in this country.’
Hurst admits he has concerns over England’s central defence, with Harry Maguire expected to start despite struggling at Manchester United, as well as an over-reliance on Kane.
Hurst believes Callum Wilson would seize his opportunity if Kane got injured and missed games at the World Cup much like he did when replacing Jimmy Greaves in 1966
‘If there is a slight weakness it’s probably the centre-backs playing as a duo. At the Euros, we played with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips and Southgate got a bit of criticism for that. Looking back, he may have felt we were slightly weak in that central defensive area so played two holding players in front.
‘I do think we need some more goals from the middle of the park and not just rely on Harry Kane. We can’t just rely on one player. I go back to my time, not just the lads up front but Bobby Charlton in the middle of the park, people forget that he scored one in two at international level. That is astonishing. Martin Peters, my old next-door neighbour, scored 20 goals in 57 games. Every time the ball went into the box, he was there.’
Hurst’s only received his chance of immortality due to an injury sustained by Greaves in the final group game against France. Until then, Hurst had not played a minute at the World Cup.
Newcastle striker Wilson will play back-up to Kane in Qatar but, if needed, Hurst believes he can fill the almighty boots of the England captain.
‘His record is very good,’ said Hurst. ‘He’s had one or two injuries but he’s up there as a goalscorer. If he’s got the right attitude, which I’m sure he has because he’s done well at club level, you wouldn’t be too worried or concerned if Harry got injured.
‘It’s about taking your chance when it comes. There is no better way of doing it than if your top man is out. For me, it was just the same. Jimmy Greaves was the greatest goalscorer we’ve ever seen at club level. There’s no way I would have played had he not been injured. He was a genius.
‘But I was ready. If Wilson has the right attitude, there’s no reason why he can’t come in and do it for himself and for his country.’
Hurst believes the potential weakness in England’s side falls in the centre of defence
Hurst was speaking at an event where Lloyd’s of London predicted England will win the World Cup in Qatar, using a model that correctly predicted the winners of the tournament in 2014 and 2018.
When Lloyd’s predicted Germany would win the 2014 event, they were 11-2 third favourites behind Brazil and Argentina; and when they said France would win the 2018 World Cup, the French were about 7-1 fourth favourites behind Brazil, Germany and Spain.
England’s poor form may cause eyebrows to raise at a tip they are on the verge of glory. But the 2014 and 2018. predictions and the forecast that Gareth Southgate’s Lions will triumph were made on the ‘insurable’ value of the players involved in the tournaments. In simple terms, this attempted to assess quality of the competing squads.
A range of factors were taken into consideration, not least the ages and wages of the players. The better footballer you are, the more likely a move to a better club, and usually, the more you get paid.
How the nations actually perform against Lloyd’s predictions can be seen as whether they have achieved what their depth of talent dictates – or to what extent they have let themselves down.
Hurst is also a fan of Jude Bellingham though believes he can score more goals for England
England came out on top due to have a relatively young squad of extremely talented players, including 10 aged 25 or under already with extensive experience in elite European club competitions, from Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, 19, to Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, 25.
Its model rates England’s Jude Bellingham as the most insurable player at the World Cup, followed by France’s Kylian Mbappé and Brazil’s Vinícius Júnior.
‘I think Bellingham is a fantastic player,’ said Hurst. ‘I’d like to see him score one or two more goals like he has done at club level. It’s amazing to see where he’s come from: from Birmingham to Dortmund and there’s talk of Manchester City sniffing around him. You can see him going there, 100 per cent. What a great, fantastic player. He’s on the verge of stamping his authority in the middle of the park alongside a West Ham legend in Declan Rice.’
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