England v Costa Rica

Monday, 11 Jun, 2018

"Football's coming home" chanted fans throughout a largely encouraging display from Southgate's young squad, who have a brief break before meeting up and heading to Russian Federation on Tuesday.

"Every time I play for England I try to do my best and try to give everything".

This youthful, vibrant side still have a lot to learn, but they also have qualities which can cause problems to even the best teams at the tournament should they meet later in the competition. He also said that they had group discussions on key issues such as how to respond to potential racism in Russian Federation this month and also on tactics - which the players are encouraged to contribute to.

Costa Rica may have only had 37 percent of the ball, but when they had it they failed to make it count and didn't look like the water-tight defensive unit they were at the 2014 World Cup where they topped a group containing Uruguay, Italy and of course England.

The 26-year-old hadn't played a single Premier League fixture nine months ago, but 12 clean sheets and a Player of the Year award later, the Clarets goalkeeper is heading to the World Cup in Russian Federation. Southgate acknowledged concerns about a lack of experience but claimed it was outweighed by the benefits.

"I don't think the players would want that because they have worked all their lives to play at a World Cup".

We've a sneaking suspicion this won't go down too well with Manchester United supporters.

Southgate is keen for the players to show their vast array of talents, and not worry about making mistakes.

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If optimism and openness alone could win games, England would breeze through the group stage on the basis of their performances in front of the media in the past week.

"The way the boss has prepared this time has helped the lads".

"We've spoken at length this week about how we're really proud to represent everybody but really the guy next to you is the most important one going into this tournament". The average age of the 736 players - nearly 28 years - is the oldest in the tournament's history. Having adopted a back three, the wing backs will be integral to bringing England up the pitch at the World Cup this summer.

"And I think that deserves an element of luck and opportunity".

"The big challenge for Danny is that he has had a lack of match minutes this season, but he's starting to get there and that's brilliant for all of us".

"They've made a conscious effort to get the fans on their side, there's harmony", he said.

Of England's chances in Russian Federation, he added: "Gareth has a great group of players there".