Ray Winstone's England verdict
- 30 Jun 06, 01:54 PM
HAMBURG - Ray Winstone, actor, West Ham fan and all-round top bloke, has been in Germany since the World Cup started.
In fact, earlier in the tournament one of our bloggers bumped into him in Frankfurt.
The actor has been keeping a close eye on England and was privileged enough to watch them train on Thursday. We caught up with Ray to find out what he made of England’s prospects.
Ray, is of course, a West Ham fan and was keen very early in our conversation to make it clear that being a Hammer you have to be “an optimist”.
Not surprisingly then Ray is very confident of victory over Portugal on Saturday.
“Portugal have got a great footballing side but we have a team to match and better them,” said Ray.
“We will beat them comfortably enough. Sometimes you get a little feeling.”
Winstone was clearly chuffed at spending Thursday with the England players - as any fan would - and if his inside word is anything to go by then prepare yourself for glory.
“The players have no fear. I was impressed with the way the training went, the way Steve McClaren coached the boys, the respect they clearly have for Sven.
“We have been scraping through but doing a job. The Italians have been doing the same thing for years - not been playing that well but getting results - that is what wins a World Cup.”
Winstone may be a household name to most British folk but I very much get the impression that he has revelled in his spending his time in Germany as just another England supporter.
“We have done some camping, gone back to our roots,” said the star of the film Sexy Beast.
“We have had a blinding time and meeting the players has been the icing on the cake.”
Winstone has been making a video diary of his trip and talking to all kinds of people to find out what they really think about the English rather than how stereotypes are portrayed in the media.
He is in Germany with a group of mates and I get the impression he has been having the time of his life.
But don’t for a moment think that penetrating the Winstone gang is easy.
They have all given themselves codenames and when I enquired as to Ray’s he gave me short shrift.
“I could tell you that, but then again if I did so I’d have to send the boys round to kill you immediately.”
Don’t say you have not been warned.