France get Norwich City midfielder Steven Naismith’s vote for Euro 2016

Norwich City midfielder Steven Naismith felt the full force of Euro 2016 hosts France. Picture by Pa

Norwich City midfielder Steven Naismith felt the full force of Euro 2016 hosts France. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith may be kicking his heels during Euro 2016 but the Norwich City attacker is tipping France as the country to beat after suffering against Les Bleus in Scotland's recent 3-0 friendly defeat.

The hosts were a cut above in Metz last weekend and Naismith is backing Didier Deschamps' men to justify their favourites' tag when they kick-off the tournament on Friday against Romania in the Stade de France.

'They've got some squad,' he said. 'You look at the second half and the players they brought on have been involved in Champions League finals and FA Cup finals. They are a quality squad. I would say they deserve to be favourites. In terms of our own performance, we didn't give all we've got. I think that showed. Our passing wasn't the best and when we conceded early goals you play right into an impossible task. It's one of those, if you open up they're going to carve you up and it could be a cricket score. It's a lesson learned.'

Gordon Strachan's squad is the only home nation to miss out on the finals, but Naismith is confident they will be ready for World Cup qualifying later this year on the road to Russia in 2018.

'We've played two friendlies against France and Italy and if you look at each group you're not going to face too many of these teams,' he said, quoted in the Glasgow Evening Times. 'We're not going to play them all the time. That's the benchmark. If we can be slightly below their performance we won't be far away. You have to be realistic. Also the squad had so many changes. Darren Fletcher and James McArthur have had to play two games in succession when that's probably one area where we haven't has as many comfortable experienced boys as we normally would. It's a mixture of things we could do better, a change of personnel in the squad, a bit of a learning curve as well.'