Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez: ‘English footballers are pampered and they have no chance of winning World Cup’
Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez has hit out at the culture of football in England and believes Roy Hodgson's men have no chance of glory in next year's World Cup.
Sanchez will be the star player in the South American side's line-up when they face England in a friendly at Wembley on Friday evening.
The 24-year-old recently passed 100 appearances for Spanish giants Barcelona, but claims he has had to work hard to rise to the top from the streets of Chile.
That is in stark contrast to his England counterparts, whom Sanchez perceives as being pampered from a young age.
"We are a tougher team than England," he said in the Daily Express. "The problem for teams like England is that everything is so easy for them. They join these academies at maybe 10 or 11 years old and everything is done for them.
"I used to wash cars for such little money just so I had enough money to buy my football boots. When you are at academies like Manchester United and Arsenal then everything is just given to you.
"If I had failed I would be working 15-hour days on construction sites and still not be earning enough to live. Football saved me, and I don't think any England players could say that."
The former Udinese man also cast doubt on England's hopes of victory in next year's World Cup in Brazil.
A European side has never triumphed when the event has been held in South America, but while Sanchez is hopeful of his own nation's hopes, he thinks Spain and Germany will be leading contenders.
"I don't think England can win the World Cup," he said. "They have some very good players but are probably not at the level where they can beat the best.
"It will be very hard for any team outside of South America to win in Brazil, but if two teams have a chance then it is Spain and Germany. Their teams are exceptional.
"We have to believe that Chile has a chance. It is not a home tournament but we must take advantage of it being in South America. We will not have to adjust to the conditions as much as other nations."
Meanwhile, Rickie Lambert thinks Chile striker Alexis Sanchez has done England's team-talk for them by branding Roy Hodgson's squad "soft".
He suggested in an interview with the Daily Express that England players, on the other hand, are "soft" because of their pampered lifestyles.
Speaking ahead of Chile's visit to Wembley on Friday, Sanchez said: "I learned to be tough, and you can only learn that if you grow up in the environment (I grew up in).
"England or other European teams they did not grow up in an environment like that, but having everything so easy made them soft."
England striker Lambert welcomed the barb.
He said: "You can't really buy motivation like that to be honest.
"It is his opinion, and we will take it on board and we will be looking forward to the game on Friday."
Lambert is one of three Southampton players in Hodgson's squad for Friday's game against Chile and the clash with Germany at Wembley four days later.
Uncapped duo Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez were also called-up for the double-header, and Lambert is delighted to see so many familiar faces within the international set-up.