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Dec 5, 2009

Shilton urges caution, Shearer happy

Legendary former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton has warned England not too get ahead of themselves after a favourable World Cup draw, while former striker Alan Shearer thinks the team would be right to be eyeing the next round.

Shilton has warned it would be "very dangerous'' to to be too confident of progressing out of Group C with one of United States, Algeria and Slovenia. The draw means England avoided the nightmare scenarios both Brazil and Germany have been left with, and Shilton feels even the order of matches has worked out in England's favour. However, he still feels there are hidden dangers.

"If you had offered Fabio that before the draw he would have said 'thank you'," he said. "On paper it looks good. But I have been to a World Cup - and these matches never turn out like they look on paper. Quite possibly the biggest problem in the lead-up to the tournament will come from outside the squad.

"People will look at that draw, rub their hands and start thinking ahead to the next round. It would be very dangerous if England started thinking that way, although I do think Fabio Capello has his feet on the ground and is meticulous in all his dealings with the team to take that expectation away from the players.''

Shilton had three World Cup campaigns with England, being beaten by the infamous 'Hand of God' Diego Maradona goal in 1986 before losing the 1990 semi-final on penalties to West Germany, the nearest the Three Lions have come to emulating the heroes of 1966. And, drawing on his own experiences, he feels the order of matches has worked to Capello's benefit.

"The United States reached the Confederations Cup final earlier this year, so they clearly are a good side,'' he said. "It means England will have to be fully switched on right from the start, which is no bad thing.

"The Algeria match will be a bit of a step into the unknown in terms of playing style but when you look at their results and their rankings, it should be the least demanding of the three games, which will give Capello the chance to rest any players who have picked up knocks. Slovenia will be an improvement on that, which should mean England are fully switched on for the start of the knockout phase.''

Former England striker Alan Shearer believes the team should be delighted with the draw.

Shearer told the BBC: "We said beforehand I don't think we will be too worried about the USA. I think Mr Capello will be sat there in his seat in South Africa and inside will be absolutely delighted. I don't think anyone can say anything else with that group. USA, Algeria, Slovenia - if you had said that to Fabio this morning I think he would have snapped your hand off and taken that, without a doubt.''

Former England manager Terry Venables admits England will be expected to come through the group stages with few problems. Venables admits the United States will be tough opposition.

"It's a tough game because they will be fit, organised and while they won't outplay us, they could outsprint us,'' he told Sky Sports News. "It could be a difficult game for us.''

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