Xavi - England are contenders

Spanish star expects Three Lions to bare their teeth in South Africa

Xavi: Respects England

Spain playmaker Xavi feels England have the quality within their ranks to land World Cup glory.

The Barcelona star admits to being an admirer of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and feels they could inspire the Three Lions to international success.

He believes any side that is able to boast such world class talent at the heart of their side must be considered contenders.

Xavi told betfairfootball.com: "Lampard and Gerrard, for me, are number one players. I like the way they play because they see football very well, and they score goals and are always prepared to shoot.

"I like them because they play in my position, I notice them more and they are fantastic players."

Success

Spain, the reigning European champions, are among the favourites to take the trophy in South Africa this summer, but Xavi insists there are any number of sides who could come out on top.

He includes England within that group, with the Three Lions having been starved of success on the biggest stage for a long period of time - in much the same manner at Spain had been before they emerged victorious at Euro 2008.

He added: "England for me is like Spain. They can be one of the favourites in the World Cup but previously they haven't done much. I think the favourites are the teams who have won it previously.

"England has possibilities, in the players, as well as having (Fabio) Capello. He has demonstrated he is a very good coach wherever he has gone. With Real Madrid he won two leagues and did well in Italy too. The coach is good and the players are too."