Eng­land squad has no lim­its: South­gate

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

GARETH SOUTH­GATE is try­ing to make the “im­pos­si­ble seem pos­si­ble” by en­cour­ag­ing Eng­land to dream and em­brace the chal­lenge that lies ahead at the World Cup 2018.

An­tic­i­pa­tion is build­ing as the Three Li­ons landed in Rus­sia yes­ter­day fol­low­ing two com­fort­able, in­jury-free f r i e n d l y wi n s a n d a prepa­ra­tion camp that has been strik­ing in its togetherness, pos­i­tiv­ity and hu­mil­ity.

It is a promis­ing young squad that will be led by Harry Kane, who ex­pressed his be­lief that Eng­land can win the World Cup j ust hours af­ter be­ing an­nounced as cap­tain for the sum­mer.

That epit­o­mises the “no lim­its” phrase of­ten heard around the camp and South­gate is try­ing to bring such con­fi­dence out of his play­ers.

“Why would I limit what they feel is pos­si­ble?” the Eng­land man­ager asked.

“My job is to al­low peo­ple to dream. What’s the say­ing? ‘Make the im­pos­si­ble seem pos­si­ble.’ They are at an age and a hunger, and have an en­thu­si­asm and no lit­tle qual­ity, so that they can cer­tainly keep im­prov­ing. “But we have got to im­prove to reach the lat­ter stages of a tour­na­ment and that is go­ing to take a lot of work over the next few weeks and a huge com­mit­ment, but I am see­ing ev­i­dence that they’re em­brac­ing that chal­lenge.” Eng­land h a v e shown qual­ity and kin­ship dur­ing prepa­ra­tions, with South­gate pleased by the way his play­ers are buy­ing into the way he wants to work. “I think that’s al­low­ing us to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where they’re ac­tu­ally hav­ing a go at things we’re ask­ing them to do, when sometimes I think, ‘They’re never go­ing to go for this’,” the Three Li­ons boss said.

“They’re at times painstak­ingly putting up with some of the things I throw their way, so that I think would be more dif­fi­cult with older play­ers, I have to say.

“They’d pos­si­bly be a lit­tle less mal­leable and a lit­tle less open to new sugges­tions, but they re­ally are hav­ing a go at ev­ery­thing and I think they are keen to show peo­ple how much it means to them to play for Eng­land.

“I think you’re start­ing to hear some of their own sto­ries and back­ground, which I think is re­ally im­por­tant. And we’re all Eng­land fans. You’ve seen pictures of them and I am the same.

“I’ve got a picture of my­self in the shirt from 1982 at home. I am lucky that there’s some of me in a shirt play­ing and now I am proud to lead the team, so it goes right through the group and we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. I’ve said to them, we’re go­ing to at­tack the tour­na­ment.” South­gate rel­ishes the fact he and his staff “have to be on it” ev­ery day, point­ing to the high lev­els de­manded by play­ers used to work­ing

with “some of the top coaches in the world”.

Yet there re­mains a “hunger and thirst” to im­prove within the squad, whether that is on a phys­i­cal, tac­ti­cal or body move­ment front.

“Any meet­ing re­ceives a cer­tain sort of look,” South­gate said with a laugh.

“But we’re ask­ing them to open up quite a bit on their own feel­ings about things. We’ve ob­vi­ously dis­cussed the pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion over racism, which was cer­tainly an im­por­tant con­nec­tion be­tween the team.

“I think we’ve got to fol­low some of that up, re­ally, be­cause I think there’s more to talk through.

“We asked them to open tac­ti­cal dis­cus­sions, which in fair­ness I know they’ve done for a while. But they know that they can have an in­put.”

South­gate be­lieves that helps brings a “closer con­nec­tion” on the pitch as well as away from it, mean­ing there ap­pears lit­tle chance of club cliques harm­ing things for Eng­land like in years gone by.

“The past can help us and in­form us, but it shouldn’t shape us,” the for­mer de­fender said. “We’ve got to be our own team.

“This is a di­verse team with dif­fer­ent sets of skills and they’ve got a chance to make their own his­tory. When­ever you’re in an Eng­land shirt you have an op­por­tu­nity to make his­tory.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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