Gareth Southgate on England squad: 'They don't know how good they can be'
England Gareth Southgate on England squad: âThey donât know how good they can beâ
â¢ Manager wants players brave enough to criticise each other
â¢ Southgate welcomes Harry Kaneâs display against Leicester
Gareth Southgate believes some of the young players in his England squad âdo not know how good they might beâ and has urged them to be brave enough to criticise each other and raise collective standards at the World Cup.Englandâs Southgate praises Alexander-Arnold and offers future hope to Hart Read more
A squad with a n average age of just over 26, the third youngest selected by England to compete at the tournament, and only 442 caps combined will travel to Russia with Southgate hopeful they will transpose fearless club form on to the biggest stage.
The manager praised their âathleticism, energy and paceâ and, having seen many in the squad forge friendships while progressing through the national junior sides, hopes bonds will be strong enough for players to engage openly about each otherâs performances.
âThe players weâve picked are free [of inhibition], theyâve got a point to prove and are hungry,â said Southgate. âThey have loads they want to do in their careers. That brings energy and competition right across the squad. They get on, and thatâs a starting point. The next stage is that they start to pull each other, raising standards of how we train, getting hold of each other on the pitch. Just getting on isnât enough. Weâve got to go deeper than that.
âThey must not be afraid of upsetting each other. They have to be brave enough to have conversations that need to be had. Itâs one of the things that makes a winning team: when youâre comfortable enough with each other so that, when you have those conversations, it is not held against you. You move on quickly from it. It is recognised as trying to get the best out of each other.
âI see such exciting players coming through. Some of them, I donât think they know how good they might be. I watched Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Crystal Palace and he was having a huge impact on the game, but thereâs still more to come. Heâs 6ft 4in, heâs technically outstanding, he can dribbl e and beat players, he can retain the ball, he can slide passes â¦ Iâm thinking, go on, go again. He just needs to keep progressing and he needs time to do that. That applies to so many of them.â
Only five members of the 23-man party have World Cup experience and Southgate accepts his players will learn on the hoof. The team will be accompanied by the psychologist Dr Pippa Grange, the head of people and team development at the FA, who is charged with changing the culture and mindset of England sides, and increasing their âpsychological resilienceâ.
âPippa was with us in March and will come with us to the finals,â Southgate said. âShe is not just there for psychology and it is not the answer to everything that we might do, but she will be a strong and important addition to the team.â
Southgate welcomed Harry Kaneâs two-goal performance against Leicester City on the Premier Leagueâs final day. The Tottenham Hotspur forward endured a difficult Euro 2016, his first taste of a major finals, but his double offered timely reassurance the striker is back close to his best after signs of rustiness following a month out with an ankle problem.Coherent, convincing and modern: Gareth Southgate offers touch of hope | Barney Ronay Read more
The manager was less impressed by a tweet, posted on the official FA Cup account after Spursâ semi-final defeat to Manchester United, asking: âWhatâs that in your pocket, Chris?â before linking to an unrelated video of Chris Smalling saying: âHarry Kane.â The post was deleted, with Mauricio Pochettino describing the incident as âan embarrassmentâ.
âWe immediately recognised it wasnât an area we need to be involved in,â said Southgate, who spoke personally to Kane about the tweet. âWe had an apology pretty quickly, to Harry and to Tottenham. So itâs do ne. What I saw from Harry from the last couple of games is that he was starting to get more shots on target. So, for me, it was a comfort finish to the season. Iâm happy heâll be in a good place.â
Kane, who is spending this week in the Bahamas, will report to St Georgeâs Park on Sunday as the bulk of the squad convenes to begin preparations. The Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, who returned on the final afternoon after an absence of eight months with a fractured knee cap, and Manchester Cityâs young goalkeeper, Angus Gunn, will add to the numbers in the absence of players from Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. Lewis Cook, one of five players placed on standby, will be permitted to play for the under-21s in the Toulon tournament.
England play two friendlies, against Nigeria at Wembley and Costa Rica at Elland Road, before departing for Repino on 12 June in which the manager hopes to scrutinise âa few combinations and options we might turn to wi thin gamesâ. The squad will also undertake an internal practice match before leaving for Russia.Topics
- Gareth Southgate
- World Cup 2018
- World Cup
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