Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne believes England should be leading candidates at next year’s European Championships and the 2022 World Cup.
The Manchester City midfielder will be part of the Belgium side against England in the Nations League at Wembley on Sunday.
Both teams reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia two years ago.
“I think they should be very excited,” he said of England. “It’s a very young team with a lot of potential.”
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England are still waiting for their first major senior trophy since the 1966 World Cup but De Bruyne, voted last season’s Premier League Player of the Year, said: “I think they should aim to win the next Euros and World Cup. I think they have that potential.
“There are always a lot of teams who want to win it, but I think the team they have, the players who play in top clubs, they should do that.”
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, the former Swansea, Wigan and Everton manager, agreed that Gareth Southgate has an impressive squad at his disposal.
“His players are as good as anyone individually in world football and it is just a matter of time that they will get that trophy or major result in a major tournament,” Martinez said.
England, ranked fourth in the world, warmed up for Sunday’s match with a 3-0 victory against Wales at Wembley on Thursday, with goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady and Danny Ings, while Jack Grealish impressed on his first senior start.
Belgium, top of the Fifa rankings, beat England twice at the 2018 World Cup, but they will be without key men Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard on Sunday.
De Bruyne ‘open’ to new City deal
De Bruyne has revealed he is open to a new contract with Manchester City but says no discussions have taken place.
The 29-year-old joined City from Wolfsburg for £55m in August 2015 and has two and a half years to run on his current deal.
There has been recent speculation in the media over a new two-year deal.
The creative midfielder has won two Premier League titles, four League Cups and the FA Cup during his spell with City.
“I am very happy at the club,” he said. “I have not spoken once to the club so I don’t know why people are saying I have already agreed to something.
“I always told everybody I am really happy at the club and I feel comfortable, so if the people at the club want to talk to me I am open to that and we will see what happens.
“But at the moment nothing has happened, so I just get on with the way it goes.”