“That has guided a lot of the thinking at St George’s Park over the last seven or eight years and I think it was a healthy thing.
“You need targets.. You have to have goals you can work back from. We have got a very exciting group of young players coming through. People around Europe are noticing that. We have got to instil good habits in them and a winning mentality.”
Southgate’s best XI – Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Dier; Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Rice, Chilwell; Rashford, Kane, Sterling, one presumes – have that in bundles.
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That is why he is already thinking that with home advantage in the latter stages England can deliver early in this summer’s European Championships.
The World Cup remains the big one, though, and there was nothing about the draw yesterday in Zurich to suggest England should have too many palpitations about being there at least.
Albania, Andorra and San Marino are three names to conjure images that the whole qualification will be a waltz.
Poland and Hungary hardly add a sense of danger, but technically they are the third best from pot 2 and second best from pot 3 so it would have been hard for England to draw much worse.
Nevertheless, England have only won in Poland twice in eight competitive attempts but clashes between the two countries will always be remembered for an infamous night at Wembley in 1973.