Ardiles - Centre-back Ezequiel Garay one to watch

Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles was signed in 1978, along with Ricky Villa, just after they had won the World Cup in their home country.

Ardiles - Centre-back Ezequiel Garay one to watch


He knows all about expectation, the passion of South American crowds and the feeling of lifting the trophy.

“It was pure happiness. It was pure ecstasy. It’s not only when it actually happens, but of course it’s something that stays with you for all the rest of your life. I would recommend it!”

Roy Hodgson has picked a squad that is being prepared for the European Championships in 2016 and the next World Cup in 2018. Most experience has been thrown out the window and a host of youngsters picked to gain some tournament experience. As a result little is expected of them. Ardiles sees it that way too.

"I think Roy is looking to the future, which is why the England team right now is a combination of very experienced players like Lampard, Gerrard and so on, and some very, very new players, some having played only one or two games for the national team.

“So to go to a World Cup with this kind of situation is quite something, because the World Cup, it hits you completely differently. You think you are used to big games and then you arrive and you realise how much bigger it really is.

“England will have to go in completely carefree. The first game is crucial in Manaus against Italy. Whoever loses this game is going to be out of the World Cup. So this game is absolutely crucial.

"If England do well in that game then they could do well. I think England are very dangerous when they are called the underdog.

"Ross Barkley is a very good player. I love him. He has to probably refine his game though. He does things that are absolutely brilliant and that is why people are so enchanted with him. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Paul Gascoigne.

“But on the other hand sometimes he loses the ball in very compromising situations. That is something he has to work on in his game. He is certainly one to watch for the future though.”

Despite no European team ever having won a World Cup in South America Ardiles does not write off European teams and plays down the weather being a crucial factor.

“Some people say a European team cannot win in South America and that South American teams cannot win in Europe. This is complete nonsense.

“The heat will play a role, but it all depends who and where you are talking about. Italy, for example, when they play in the summer it is very, very hot, but the countries more up north like England, Germany and so on maybe it will play a part, but it depends where you play.

“For England they will play one game in what is an inferno really. It will be very, very hot, but not only that, but incredibly humid. They are going to feel it.

“The second game is in Sao Paolo. It’s winter over there right now, so in the evening when the games are going to be, it’ll be quite nice.

“The other one is in the south. In the south it’s going to be winter weather, you’re talking about three or four degrees.

“Brazil is a big, big country. You’re talking about Manaus in the north to down in the south with somewhere like Porto Alegre, it's a six or seven hour flight. That’s how big it is. So you have all the different weather that comes with that.

"I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of difference with a South American World Cup. We live in a very globalised world so it will be the same if it is played in South Africa or Europe or South America.

"Before I’d say it was possibly an advantage for a South American team to be playing in South America because of all the travelling involved and you take ages to go from one place to another.

“But that is not the case now. Everyone will have private jets and so on. So it used to be important [where it takes place], but with each World Cup it gets less important."

Ardiles is expecting the big two to have a major tournament and picks out a central defender for Argentina who will have to perform if his country are to lift the trophy again.

"I would say it’s a particularly important World Cup for Lionel Messi and for Cristiano Ronaldo as well. These two are going to be something.

“From Argentina, one player who could stand out is Ezequiel Garay, who is a central defender. He is playing for Benfica and has had a very good season. He will probably have a good World Cup and I am pretty sure he will end up in England. I know Manchester United were interested in him before.

“He will be crucial for Argentina this World Cup. Going forward we are superb, but defensively we are not as good, so a lot will rest on his shoulders.”


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