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Barton: England will qualify

Former England international Joey Barton is confident Roy Hodgson's side can qualify for the latter stages of the World Cup despite last week's defeat by Italy.

And the Queens Park Rangers midfielder, who made one appearance for his country as a substitute against Spain in 2007, says England should take advantage of Luis Suarez's lack of match practice when they face Uruguay this Thursday.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: "I think they'll go through. They had a reasonable level of performance against Italy but unfortunately were not able to win the game.

"But I think they will be good enough to get through this group. Obviously everyone will be focused massively on the Uruguay game, where Luis Suarez will probably start despite his recent injury.

"I expect him to start as they need to win the game as much as us, but I fancy them to beat Uruguay.

"Costa Rica after that could be a potential banana skin but I think the momentum of winning against Uruguay will be enough to carry them through."

Despite his assertions that he is now fully fit following keyhole surgery on his knee, Barton believes Suarez's spell on the sidelines could hinder the Liverpool striker when the sides clash in Sao Paulo.

"A three or four-week turnaround from his injury is not ideal," added the former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder.

"But we have seen in the Premier League this year that even if he is not 100 per cent fit, he is a threat.

"He probably won't be fully fit and I think England must expose that, although a less than 100 per cent Luis Suarez is still a heck of a player."

Watch Sky Sports News from 9am this Wednesday for the announcement of next season's Premier League, Football League and SPFL fixtures.