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Beckham banking on England surprise
David Beckham has hailed Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad selection and believes that England can make an impact in Brazil this summer.
Three Lions boss Hodgson has selected a youthful party for the tournament with the likes of Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw, Everton's Ross Barkley and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling complimenting old heads like skipper Steven Gerrard and Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard.
England kick off in Group D against Italy on June 14 with little expectation on their shoulders but Beckham, who won 115 caps, believes Hodgson has got his blend right and is hopeful that his countrymen can cause some upsets.
"I think it's a really good selection. I think Roy has done really well since he's come in as the manager of England," he told Sky Sports News. "It's a great job to have but it's a tough job.
"You've got players that are playing at the top of their game and I think what he's done is pick players that are at the top of their game.
"They're young players, they've had great seasons. People have been saying it for years about players coming in to a big competition like this - it's not about that anymore.
"These young players have been playing in the biggest league in the world this season and quite a few seasons so there's no players that are going to go on to this stage and be affected by it because you've got players that are playing, week in and week out, against some of the best players in the world and in the biggest league in the world and for some of the biggest clubs in the world.
"You've got a captain like Stevie G (Gerrard) that has has had one of the best seasons probably for him and that Liverpool have had for quite a while.
"You've got players like that that are well respected by the young players and that the young players will want to play for.
"So I think that we can cause a few upsets and a few surprises but obviously we have a tough group but there is no reason why we can't go really far in this competition.
"You're coming up against a great team, the Italians, they always perform well in World Cups. They've got great players and a great history but that can be a good thing for us.
"We always perform well against the big teams and it doesn't get much bigger than this."
England's opener against Italy is to be contested in Manaus and Hodgson has openly expressed his concern over playing at a venue where humidity can reach upwards of 80 per cent.
But Beckham travelled to three World Cups with England as a player, as well as being part of Fabio Capello's staff in 2010, and has few concerns about preparation
"Roy and his staff, they're going to have all the lads prepared as much as possible," he said. "The preparation for World Cups for England teams is always top class, they're always looked after on every level and that won't be any different for this World Cup.
"The humidity and the heat is obviously going to be a factor but you can only prepare enough for those first games and they'll do well."
The last time England faced Italy was in the quarter finals at Euro 2012 when they lost on penalties, with spot kicks also proving to be their downfall at the World Cup in 1990, 1998 and 2006 and the Euros in 1996 and 2004.
Beckham is sure, however, that the injection of players not scarred by past failure can help Hodgson's men.
"We haven't had success in big competitions but sometimes it can be over-thought," he said.
"Stevie G has scored some great penalties before.
"You've got some young players who are going to step up and not even be worried about it.
"They're going to go there and they don't even have to worry (about) penalties for quite a few games so just enjoy the occasion.
"There's no bigger competition in the world than the World Cup and for a player to be going there it makes them proud."