England may never be great again - Charlton

10 April 2013 03:16

England great Bobby Charlton has admitted he fears his country will never again be a dominant force in international football.

Charlton was a key member of the England team that triumphed at the 1966 World Cup on home soil and remains his country's all-time leading scorer with 49 goals.

However, England have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup just once since 1966, and Charlton is worried their best days may be behind them.

"People wonder whether we will ever win it again. I worry about that as well," Charlton said at the annual Soccerex conference in Manchester.

"When I am asked to give my opinion, I always say yes, but it is a fool's errand.

"You need good players. But if all the spaces at English clubs are taken by foreign players, you have no chance.

"It is hard to think we could win a World Cup when you see the quality of the other teams.

"Spain would have to be my favourites for Brazil (in 2014), plus Germany, because they have some good players emerging. I want to see some English players emerge."

England can at least call on Wayne Rooney, who has taken on Charlton's goal-scoring mantle at Manchester United.

The 27-year-old is currently 14 goals behind Charlton in the all-time England scoring chart and while the former United midfielder would be loath to lose his record, he feels Rooney would be a fitting player to take it.

"I am really proud of my record and if someone takes it I would be sick," he said. "But I would be happy if it was Wayne."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:57