Newcastle legend Paul Gascoigne tips England to surprise and delivers Jonjo Shelvey verdict
Paul Gascoigne is backing England to turn a few heads at this summer's World Cuo, and has urged Jonjo Shelvey to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out.
The Three Lions kick-off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia this evening (kick-off 7pm) after a promising series of warm-up games.
And Gascoigne is backing Gareth Southgate's side to surprise a few this summer having been enthused by their performances in warm-up games.
However, he knows that when the pressure is on it can be a different story - but is backing England to take on a familiar foe in the final in Russia.
Speaking to Bet Stars, the former Newcastle man said: "I've watched them play a few times in some friendlies and I think a lot of people were surprised with how well they did.
"When you've got the whole world watching, it's a different story.
"England to get to the final and win against Germany on penalties. It would be nice wouldn't it."
England boss Southgate is well-known to Gascoigne with the pair having played together on international duty during the 1990s.
While the ex-Tottenham man said that he didn't foresee Southgate entering management, he is glad to see the boss nurturing the next generation of talent.
Although he did confess that it ultimately comes down to the eleven that enter the pitch.
"I don't think anyone did to be honest," he admitted, when asked if he thought Southgate would go into management.
"He was at Middlesborough and then worked with the U21s. Good luck to him.
"You could manage England. I could manage England. It's down to the players you've got. If the players aren't good enough, that's it.
"He's got a lot of good kids coming through which is great for him to help them develop."
One name omitted from Southgate's squad was that of Jonjo Shelvey.
A string of impressive performances for the Magpies had led to speculation that he may earn an unlikely call-up, only for Southgate left the midfielder at home.
It's a feeling that Gascgoine knows well, having missed out on the 1998 World Cup squad, but he has urged Shelvey to keep pushing ahead of the next major tournament.
"I think for any player it's very disappointing not to make the squad," he said.
"I didn't in 1988 and was very disappointed.
"He's got to keep his head and improve next season as there's the Euros in two years' time to aim for and get yourself in contention for.
"It's a shame. No doubt he'll be devastated."