'England can win Euro 2016'
Ex-Arsenal man Ray Parlour believes the youngsters will blossom by then
England can forget about winning the World Cup in Brazil, said ex-Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour.
But they will be one of the favourites to win the 2016 European Championship, which will be held in France.
The reason for Parlour's optimism lies in the promising young players that pepper manager Roy Hodgson's 23-man World Cup squad.
The likes of Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck lead a youth brigade aged 23 years and below.
Said the ex-England international: "If England reach the quarter-finals in Brazil, I consider that as a successful tournament.
"But I'm looking at two years' time, that's more important.
"The European Championship will come when these young players get a little bit more experience.
"It's more about getting the experience at the World Cup in Brazil.
"After that, I expect them to become one of the favourites to win the Euros.
"If they improve the way they do, I'm sure England will have a very good side.
"People talk about Germany, Holland, Spain as favourites, and Belgium are pretty decent as well, but I believe we will shock a few people in 2016."
However, Hodgson has also included a fair share of experienced players in his team to ensure that England are ready for their immediate assignment.
The Three Lions face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tough group phase.
That's where the big-match temperament of Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, James Milner and Steven Gerrard comes in handy.
Said Parlour, 41: "It is always important to have some experience.
"There's a right blend.
"The likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Milner and Rooney are very experienced.
"The centre-half positions are important, and Gary Cahill has had a fantastic season.
"I was hoping that John Terry would change his mind and return to the England fold, because he and Cahill, for Chelsea, have been the two best centre halves of the league campaign.
"But there's Phil Jagielka, so that's fine.
"For me, Cahill is the most improved player in the England team.
"My only complaint is that Ashley Cole should be in it as well. He should be in front of Luke Shaw.
"I thought he should be playing in England's first game, against Italy, because you need experience in big games.
"Cole might not have been first-choice at Chelsea but he looks after himself very well and he had done well in the matches that he had been asked to play in."
With a little luck, Parlour added, England can get past Italy and Uruguay to reach the knockout stages.
He reckoned that a draw with Italy, and another in their following match against Uruguay, will stand them in good stead, as they are expected to beat Costa Rica in their final group fixture.
As for the favourites, he believes the South American sides are the teams to beat.
He said: "I'm looking at England taking five points from three matches to get to the Round of 16. I can't see them winning it though.
"Realistically, you need look no further than the South Americans.
"Brazil, with home support, are the top team.
"Uruguay are spearheaded by Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, and Argentina have Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain.
"The European team that may have an outside chance, I believe, are Belgium."
It's more about getting the experience at the World Cup in Brazil. After that, I expect them to become one of the favourites to win the Euros.
- Ex-Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, who is in Singapore to take part in this weekend's The Singapore Cricket Club International Soccer Sixes at the Padang