Gareth Southgate leads England through to 2018 World Cup

08 October, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Edward Fernandez
  • Joe Hart believes England are beginning to exorcise the demons of their Euro 2016 exit

"We qualified last time, we get to major tournaments and then we completely freeze".

"Well, you're always there to win football matches, but you also have to be thinking what is realistic as well", he said.

Questions still remain over Hart's status as England's first choice goalkeeper after two seasons on loan from Manchester City and a poor showing at Euro 2016.

Despite the unenthusiastic reaction to the performance, Kane says England should be proud of their achievement.

MARCUS RASHFORD: England's best player on the night, not that he had much competition.

Captain Kane capped a dour performance at Wembley with a stoppage-time victor to ensure England are the the fourth European team to reach next summer's tournament in Russian Federation. Drab displays in unconvincing wins over Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia have done little to restore faith in the England side, which means Southgate essentially has nothing to lose by changing his system.

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Asked if he was enjoying the tricky challenge of leading his country, Southgate said with a chuckle: "Weirdly, I am".

"England players do not travel well. This team has potential, but we have a hell of a lot of work to do". England can't call upon Spurs' chief playmaker Christian Eriksen, who instead plays for Denmark, but Adam Lallana is a respectable replacement.

Enthusiasm for the national team continues to wane and Southgate has previously warned there is "no magic wand" to improve matters.

England have progressed through to their 15th World Cup following a slender, and soulless, 1-0 victory over Slovenia, meaning they can't be caught at the summit of qualifying Group F.

Match-winner and captain Kane described it as a dream come true after England stumbled to qualification for the World Cup. It is not just Kane's goals that make him so special, he contributes to the team in every way. He could play in midfield, on the wing, at No 10 or even as a wing-back - you need players that are versatile. They don't have Champions League-winning medals throughout this group, they don't have Premier League-winning medals.

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