World Cup

2018 World Cup: Gareth Southgate wants England to ‘send people to work happy’

England manager Gareth Southgate wants his players to play with flair at the World Cup and entertain the nation.

England have warmed up with wins over Nigeria and Costa Rica, with many pundits praising the effective – and sometimes stylish – football on show.

Southgate’s squad fly to Russia on Tuesday and play Tunisia in their first group game on Monday, 18 June.

“We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches,” he said.

The tournament begins on Thursday when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia at 16:00 BST.

The displays in the warm-up matches have been in contrast to England’s performances in recent years, which critics say have been hallmarked by disjointed and often dull football - just 40,000 fans turned up for a friendly against Norway at Wembley in 2014, and some travelling fans booed a the end of a 4-0 win in Malta last year.

“I’ve talked before about there being a disconnect between the supporters and the team and I’ve felt that there’s different ways to bridge that. The most important is the way you play, and your performances and your results,” Southgate said.

“We know we are not the finished article – in fact, we’re a long way from it – but I think people see signs of progress and enjoy watching us and the manner in which we try to play.

“We are seeing a team that is enjoying each other’s company, getting on well, is very proud to represent the nation.

“We ask people to pay a lot of money to watch football. In the end, we want to entertain where we possibly can.

“Ultimately, we know we’ll be judged on results – but we have to focus on the processes.

“If we do all of those things and we play with a smile on our face, enjoy our football, enjoy being in a tournament, then I think we will get results.”





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