Southgate says England will be there for another week

The manager attributes England's stellar run in this World Cup, to the team’s cohesiveness.

Gareth Southgate is the third manager to lead England to the semis of the World Cup.   -  Getty Images

Gareth Southgate, only the third English manager to guide the island nation to the last four of the World Cup, feels amazingly fortunate. “It's an incredible privilege to be an England manager and it's incredible to be here, in the World Cup semifinals,” he said after his team’s convincing 2-0 quarterfinals victory over Sweden. “We had a chat with the players and none of us want to go home and we are here for another week and it's up to us to decide which game (final or the third-pace playoff) we play.”

The former international is still full of humility despite achieving this rare success and attributes England’s stellar run in a World Cup, where favourites have crumbled, to the team’s cohesiveness. “Our boys controlled the game and withstood the physical game. This is a great site for a young side which is maturing in front of our eyes,” the manager said.

Read: Maguire, Alli seal semis berth for England

“We are a team that are still improving and we are having success because everyone is working hard. Everyone who is in the field and also the older ones who is in the squad and training everyday even though they haven't had enough game time. The support staff and the players are all together. We don't have renowned world-class players but we have a lot of young players who are prepared to be brave with the ball and have also showed their mental resilience.”

Acknowledging the contribution of the team’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and the entire defence, Southgate said: “Jordan is a prototype of a modern goalkeeper. In Premier League you have to deal with more crosses but everywhere else goalkeepers need more touches. Today he picked out (Kieran) Trippier with some excellent balls and it works well for us. Even (Harry) Maguire has been phenomenal for us in defence, bringing the ball from central defence. In his first game against Moldova he was just eager to not make mistakes. Hopefully he will get the confidence from these games. We have scored all the set-piece goals because of him and its good that he got one today.”

England has scored eight of its 11 goals in the competition from dead-ball situations.

Southgate also had a word of praise for former England manager Roy Hodgson, and appreciated his efforts to blood English youngsters like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and John Stones in EURO 2016, where England was knocked out by Iceland in the round-of-16, forcing Hodgson to quit. “Roy took a lot of flak but he gave these players a chance and they have benefitted. Sometimes it doesn't go right with young players as it happened in France, but they are better for the experience,” Southgate said.

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