England supporters were given the opportunity to speak directly to their football heroes, as Joe Hart, Danny Welbeck and Fraser Forster took part in a Q&A streamed live from The England Footballers’ Foundation gala dinner, Lions and Roses, on the Vauxhall England Facebook page. During the event, hosted by Geoff Shreeves, the players were joined by England football legend Paul Merson to talk about the team’s hopes and aspirations for Brazil this summer. “You go in there to win every game and if you do that, you win the World Cup”, said Joe Hart, “you can’t go in with the attitude of failure or defeat”. His team mates backed him up, with Welbeck stating that they go into every game to win. The players also revealed how they received the news that they are in the England squad: “We all get a text just before it’s announced,” said Welbeck, “so you sit staring at the phone. It’s something you’ll remember forever. ”

Former Arsenal forward, Paul Merson, was forthright in his views about the team he feels will give England the best chance of success in Brazil – with special praise reserved for Everton’s Ross Barkley:

“Barkley could be [as good as] Paul Gascoigne,” Merson said. “The longer the season’s gone on he sees more of a pass. He could be the threat for England this summer. He could be the card. Read this if you are tinkering with the idea of jumping into this writing challenge, but you’re unsure of whether or not it’s for you, then I hope you’ll join our best online paper writers writing community. ”

Merson went on to say that he would play captain Steven Gerard in a defensive midfield role, with Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Barkley ahead of him, and strikers Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge up front. The ex-England striker – who scored three goals in his 21 England appearances – was also very confident about England’s chances:

“There is no threat [to England] in the group. They are an absolute certainty to get through,” he said,  ”Uruguay have two [quality] centre forwards but no one after that would get in the England team. ”

And the former Gunner also praised his old club for coming through yesterday’s FA Cup final to lift the trophy, reserving special praise for his old boss Arsene Wenger: “If Wenger was available tomorrow everyone would want him – he’s that good. ”

Geoff Shreeves went on to ask the England players about their pre-match routine, with Paul Merson revealing his was all about socks: “I used to put them on, take them off again and put them back on – it was madness!” Welbeck’s recipe for success, however, is just a good night’s sleep!

Vauxhall Marketing Director, Peter Hope, commented: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Facebook to deliver the fans this world first with the England team ahead of the World Cup this summer. “Bringing the England fans closer to the team has been part of our sponsorship from the outset and what better way to do this than to get the players to interact with the fans live ahead of their trip to Brazil. ”

Glenn Miller, Head of Media Partnerships, EMEA at Facebook, said: “Facebook is a great way for footballers, clubs and national teams to connect directly with their supporters – of the 1. 2 billion people who are on Facebook, some 500 million are football fans, with 13. 2m in the UK alone. “Over two thirds of these fans are on Facebook every day, which means that today’s Q&A gave a huge number of England supporters the unique chance to hear from the team before they head off to this summer’s World Cup Finals. ”

The whole event can be viewed here:

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