Last Updated: 12/06/18 12:15am
Gareth Southgate wants his England players to entertain fans during their World Cup campaign in Russia.
England’s 23-man squad fly to Russia from Birmingham on Tuesday afternoon, destined for their base camp in the village of Repino on the Gulf of Finland.
Southgate has made a big issue of winning back the hearts and minds of the country during his time in the job and believes his young, eager side are well on the way to achieving that aim.
“We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches, I know what those tournament experiences can be like and we desperately want to bring that,” he said.
“We know we are not the finished article, in fact we’re a long way from, but I think people see signs of progress and enjoy watching us and the manner in which we try to play.
“We are seeing a team that is enjoying each other’s company, getting on well, is very proud to represent the nation. They have some talent, have a real desire and determination to play for England.
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“We ask people to pay a lot of money to watch football. In the end, we want to entertain where we possibly can.
“I’ve talked before about there being a disconnect between the supporters and the team and I’ve felt that there’s different ways to bridge that. The most important is the way you play, and your performances and your results.”
Asked to sum up his own feelings about coaching his country on the biggest stage of all, he added: “I’m a very proud Englishman and I’ve said before that to play for my country was my only goal as a kid.
“So to now be managing and leading my country to a World Cup is an extra special moment. I recognise the responsibility that brings but also I’m enjoying that challenge.”
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