Europe go into the weekend's action at Gleneagles as slight favourites thanks partly to the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy as well as former US Open champion Justin Rose and 2012 Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer.

McIlroy in particular was highlighted as a danger man by Watson recently, having taken his major count to four this year ahead of his third Ryder Cup.

While Watson acknowledged that Europe have the "names", the captain of America's successful 1993 team believes his current crop have what it takes to compete.

"We certainly had our run of really good golf, and the run is favouring the Europeans right now with Rory and Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer," he said on Wednesday.

"There are ebbs and flows to the careers of people and to eras of golfers. Right now it seems - as we all know when we went into this thing - the first comment was: Well, the European team is favoured.

"Well, you've got the names. You've got the guys who have really played some great golf. But that changes on Friday morning when we tee it up. Everybody's the same.

"That's the way I look at it."

With pairings set to be revealed later in the week, Watson also explained there was still room for manoeuvre in his selections, while also touching on the roles of experienced duo Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.

Discussing his pairings, Watson added: "They're not set in stone and there's a bit of give and take.

"We had an idea of who was going to play with who in the beginning but after that you're coaching by the seat of your pants. [European captain] Paul [McGinley] knows that, that's why we have our vice-captains. It's a collective decision I assure you."

Moving on to Mickelson, preparing for his 10th Ryder Cup, Watson explained: "Phil has been a wonderful man in the locker room, I've talked to past Ryder Cup captains, maybe the last four or five, and Phil is a leader.

"He's the guy that talks. He talks the locker room talk and gets people talking back.

"There's a lot of pressure, a cauldron, it's not unique in locker rooms before finals and there's banter going back and forth.

"There's one or two guys who carry it and get the talk going. Jim Furyk is very good at that, too, he says the right thing at the right time. He's a wonderful motivator.

"I am as intense watching as when I played or captained. I get that same feeling and I don't think I'm unique. The intensity is there, the players know it."