England can be wonderful or lose to anyone – Javier Clemente
England need to eradicate their inconsistency if they are to reach their potential at the World Cup, according to former Spain coach Javier Clemente.
Gareth Southgate's side cruised through qualification for Russia 2018, winning eight and drawing two of their 10 matches to finish eight points ahead of second-placed Slovakia.
But such a scenario is nothing new for England, who have often made light work of the preliminary phase before ultimately falling well short at major tournaments, with Euro 2016 – when they were eliminated by unfancied Iceland in the last 16 – the most recent example.
And Clemente, who coached Spain to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, believes that inconsistency is England's biggest issue heading into this year's tournament, arguing they would be considered one of the favourites if they were not so unpredictable.
"The best European teams are Germany, France and Spain, no doubt," he told Omnisport.
Netherlands pic.twitter.com/0rQv1oOqSY— England (@England) March 24, 2018
"After that there are other teams able to play good football - but the three strongest are Germany, France, and Spain.
"I expect England to be in this group, but I don't know because England is an up-and-down team.
"They could play wonderfully, but they could also lose against any team. I don't know the reason, you need to be on the inside [of English football] to know.
"There is something which English players miss within the key moments. However, I am a fan of English football.
"I always want them to win because I like them, but that is just my personal opinion, it is not a tactical analysis of English football. I always talk highly of England as I like them."