Francis Jeffers reflects on his career and England's World Cup chances on Soccer AM

Last Updated: 10/12/13 9:27am

Jeffers reacts to World Cup draw

Former England striker Francis Jeffers believes Roy Hodgson's team will struggle to qualify for the latter stages of the World Cup due to the strength of the group and the conditions in Brazil.

Jeffers rated England as the third-best team in Group D, behind Italy and Uruguay, when he made his belated debut on the show this week.

"They were difficult times and I probably was not good enough to get in the team if I am brutally honest with myself."

Francis Jeffers

The 32-year-old - who won one cap for England as well as playing for Arsenal and Everton in the Premier League - also suggested that the heat and humidity that England will face, especially in their opening match against Italy in the sweltering Amazon region on 14 June, could further dent their chances of progressing to the latter stages of the competition.

When asked what he thought of England's draw, he told Soccer AM: "Do you want me to be patriotic or tell the truth? I think we are probably the third best team in the group [after Italy and Uruguay]."

Jeffers, who tipped Brazil to win the competition next summer, is on the verge of joining former Blackburn manager Steve Keen at Brunei DPMM in Singapore and has had previous experience of playing in countries with hot and humid climates, such as Australia and Malta.

He believes it will be difficult for England with the limited acclimatisation time they will have, though he thinks Hodgson's side have been fortunate in drawing a European side in their opening match.

"It is difficult especially when you are not used to it," he said. "We play in the freezing cold here and it is a bit different there. I remember a game I played in Australia where we had to have a half time in the first half because it was that hot.

"It takes time and I don't think that I ever got used to it. I'm a Scouser and pasty!

"The Italians will have to deal with it as well and it is a good thing that the first game is another European team as well rather than a South American team."

Not good enough

Jeffers went on to talk about his long career which started at Everton. He joined Arsenal in 2001 for £8million but he admitted on the show that he was 'not good enough' to succeed in Arsene Wenger's star-studded team.

"I was only fifth choice behind them [Henry, Wiltord, Bergkamp and Kanu]," he said. "They were difficult times and I probably was not good enough to get in the team if I am brutally honest with myself.

"It was difficult for me because I was a first-team regular at Everton. I did not want to go to Arsenal to sit on the bench and when I got there I could not get any football and found it really difficult."