The Dugout - Wilkinson: Spain can be beaten
Sat, 12 Nov 10:51:00 2011
Vicente Del Bosque's side followed up their World Cup triumph by winning all eight of their Euro 2012 qualifiers, and are hot favourites to retain their European Championship title in Poland and Ukraine next year.
But Wilkinson believes England should not be overawed by their illustrious visitors.
"What I'm looking forward to is seeing how we deal with that standard of opposition," he told.
"Don't get me wrong, in my opinion they won't be as good as Barcelona, that's impossible.
"Although they've got a lot of Barcelona players, they won't be as good as them - in general the best club teams are still better than the best national teams, and so they should be.
"So we're not facing the unbeatable, but it is a good test."
Wilkinson, who managed England in two spells as caretaker, thinks the occasion represents the perfect chance for Fabio Capello to gauge his side's progress and audition strikers, with Wayne Rooney suspended for the Euro 2012 group stage.
"It's a great game for England. It comes before Christmas when we should still be relatively fresh," he said.
"There is nothing on the game other than it being a learning experience, so it's an opportunity for the players and the manager to actually measure how far they have come and how far they might go against the best team in the world.
"There can't be any losers this weekend, unless somehow we produce an absolutely abysmal performance.
"But what matters is that people are allowed to test themselves against the best team in the world, and get a fairly accurate idea of where they are and what they have to do before next summer.
"He won't get a better opportunity to look at possible replacements for Wayne Rooney in the Euro 2012 group stage."
Wilkinson also believes Spain's dominance at international level is thanks not just to their academies' development of young players, but also the lesser demands placed on senior professionals.
He said: "There can be no argument about the end result of Spain's football development - they produce good players.
"Our difficulty is that the conditions which affect us are slightly different - for example the number of games we play.
"We don't get a winter break, which many argue it is of no consequence, but you only have to look at the number of injuries in the Premier League compared to Europe late in the season. They rise dramatically here."
Howard Wilkinson was speaking to Yahoo!'s 'The Dugout' through its partnership with the League Managers Association
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