What do you think of your team’s group?

It is very interesting. I think our first match, against France, will be one of the highlights of the overall group stage. They have some fantastic players and know what it takes to win tournaments. We will also not be taking Switzerland and Croatia lightly – the Swiss have made huge progress in recent years and Croatia always produce talented teams. However, if we have all our key players fit we shouldn’t fear anyone.

Who are your key players?

I don’t like to pick out individuals but I think when you look at the World Cup two years ago you can say that we are a much better team with David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen fully fit.

Who will win the tournament?

France, Italy and Portugal must be among the favourites, with Germany always a danger in big tournaments. And why not England?

Who will be the surprises?

I don’t know whether this counts as a surprise, but the Czech Republic will be very difficult to beat, even in a tough group with Germany and Holland.

How would you describe your relations with the media?

Being the England manager is a big job, a huge honour, and relations with the media are a major part of that job.

Should clubs be paid when their players appear for their country?

This is not a question I can answer, it’s a matter for FIFA and the national associations.

How important is a winter break to English football?

A winter break would help the players, the clubs and the national team. It is a very long season in England and players will inevitably get tired towards the end. As this is the time when major championships are played, of course I would like to see them more refreshed, and a break would certainly help in this regard.

You’ve now had more than three years as England head coach. What aspect of English football has struck you most?

I have watched a lot of matches around the country in that time but even now I am constantly amazed at the passion for football in England and the incredible atmosphere in the stadiums.

What lessons did you learn from the 2002 World Cup campaign that will affect your approach to this tournament in Portugal?

It was partly the experience at the World Cup that has made me argue for a winter break. We went into the tournament with key players either injured, not fully fit or exhausted after a long season. It is very difficult for England to win a major championship under these circumstances.

Would you support a regulation that forced top Premiership clubs to play more England-qualified players in their teams?

Of course, as England coach I want to see as many top-quality English players playing at the highest level. However, I am not sure that an artificial quota is the way to achieve that. What is important is that the youth development structure continues to produce excellent young players as we have seen over the past few years.

There has been much speculation that you may return to club football after Euro 2004. What is the situation from your point of view?

I have made it clear that I have a contract as England coach until 2008. I have nothing further to add on this subject.

Were you disappointed that Alan Shearer decided he did not want to return to international football?

It was Alan’s decision to retire from the national team and I fully respect that.

Which England match has given you the most pleasure so far?

While the 5-1 win in Munich is obviously a highlight, I was also very proud of the team’s attitude and performance in the 0-0 draw with Turkey in Istanbul in what was a crucial match to qualify for Euro 2004. They remained focused despite a lot of distractions and played extremely well.

What was the most difficult moment of your time with England so far?

The build-up to the match in Turkey was very difficult for everyone – the players, the FA, and for me personally – with the background of the Rio Ferdinand situation.