STELIOS Giannakopoulos – who lifted the European Championship trophy 20 years ago with Greece – believes that England are primed to win this summer’s tournament in Germany.

The former Wanderers favourite has tipped Gareth Southgate’s side to end their 58-year wait for major honours, having gone so close last time with defeat in the final against Italy.

England’s campaign gets underway on Sunday evening against Serbia and they remain favourites with most bookmakers to win their first Euros.

Stelios was heavily involved in Greece’s shock victory in Portugal in 2004 and feels Southgate’s squad has exactly the right mix of youth and experience to go all the way.

“I think there is a strong possibility that England wins it,” he told The Bolton News. “They have the depth of squad, the manager knows his players well and has worked with them for a long time, he knows what his players can do and what they cannot.

“The wisdom is there for the players as well, they are at good football ages but most important they are winners at their clubs. It is a good blend and a strong generation of squad.

“I think they can go all the way and win the tournament. The time has come for England.”

Defeat against Iceland in their final warm-up friendly at Wembley coupled with some controversial call-up decisions have left some supporters lukewarm on England’s chances.

Defensively, the lack of a match-fit specialist left back has been highlighted as a potential problem, even though Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is nearing availability.

There have also been questions asked about the quality of Southgate’s options at the back when faced with some of Europe’s leading strikers.

Stelios believes that England’s front six is favourable to any other in the competition and that the effectiveness of their press could be key to the Three Lions’ success.

“You have to view the whole package, not only the back four or a back three,” he said.

“The whole defensive function of the team must be analysed. Maybe the team has a better defensive transition and that starts from the front?

“If you can win possession in the opposition half, or better the final third, then you can create better opportunities and score more goals.

“I wouldn’t focus only on the back four but speaking as a coach, I know it is about the whole team defence and not just the back four. They will all have to succeed if England are to win the tournament.”

Meanwhile, Eoin Toal was an unused sub in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win against Andorra on Tuesday night and will now take a short break before linking up with Wanderers again at the start of pre-season.

Conor Bradley scored twice in a comfortable win, with manager Michael O’Neill pleased with the progress the team has made even after a heavy 5-1 defeat against Spain at the weekend.

“It’s been a good trip,” he said. “We saw the top end of the game and had 22 outfield players who got on the pitch.

“The key for us was to give players opportunities and they have got caps.

“We have four or five players to come back into the squad. It will give us more depth and these players need to be in good form for their clubs.”

Striker Dion Charles had pulled out of the squad before they travelled to Spain with a knee injury and is now back under the club’s care.