LONDON (Reuters) – The hero of England’s only major tournament win has said their squad for the European Championship in France is the most exciting since the country’s World Cup triumph on home soil in 1966.
Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over West Germany in the final at Wembley, said: “It’s the most exciting squad since ’66 — people like (Tottenham Hotspur playmaker) Dele Alli have come in and been very refreshing.
“He’s played, even in the friendlies, like it’s the World Cup final,” former West Ham United striker Hurst told the BBC on Monday.
Hurst made his remarks as England touched down at their French base of Chantilly in search of a first major tournament victory on foreign soil.
Their squad is the youngest at the finals with an average age of 25. The strike partnership of Spurs’ Harry Kane and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has been hailed as potentially one of the most potent in the tournament.
England manager Roy Hodgson said: “The one thing we don’t have is experience but often the energy and enthusiasm of the young players can make up for it.”
England play their first Group game against Russia in Marseille on Saturday before taking on Wales and Slovakia.
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Ken Ferris)