Gareth Southgate says ‘the impossible looks possible’ with England’s current squad, ahead of the Three Lions’ World Cup opener against Iran.
England begin their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday, as Southgate’s side look to end their long wait for major tournament success. Confidence has increased following successful performances at recent tournaments, having reached the last four at the 2018 World Cup before a runners-up finish at Euro 2020.
England have not won a major trophy since lifting the World Cup on home soil in 1966, but Southgate believes the current group have shown success is possible and has backed the Three Lions to remain competitive in the coming years.
“Maybe we’ve made the impossible just look possible, would be the analogy,” Southgate said at a press conference ahead of the game.
“Yeah, look, maybe we’ve made it look possible and it’s exciting for other people and I can understand that. We want England to be competitive for years to come and I believe that our academy system has got that.
“I think there are challenges within that because we’re back to 31 per cent of the league being eligible for England and only four or five exports of a high level so there are still some challenges for us in terms of development of players and opportunity for players.
“But we have also got some good players and we should be competitive for the next six, eight years with this group.”
Southgate urged his team to remember the uniqueness of competing at a World Cup, as England prepare for another campaign of tournament football in Qatar.
“We remind ourselves of the privilege of being here and the uniqueness of it. Only sixteen England teams have ever been to a World Cup.
“A lot of the staff and players are at their second. Raheem is at his third. You have to remind yourself of this moment in time. Tournament football is different.”
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