Published: Sun, October 08, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Southgate: England fans may hold Euro '96 against me

Southgate: England fans may hold Euro '96 against me

England produced another lacklustre performance but were bailed out by a late Harry Kane goal as they beat Slovenia 1-0 at Wembley. "Now don't get me wrong, I don't run the most, we've got a lot of players that do that, but my numbers are good so I'm happy".

True, they are, England's sixth World Cup in a row, and perhaps the problem has always been the unrealistic expectations held by many in England, from the fans to the media.

Southgate's biggest trump card is that so many of his first-team stars play together at Tottenham, who are temporarily sharing England's stadium.

"We want Harry to be in fantastic form, but we want everyone to contribute". I feel physically great, every game I expect to score so I have to keep it going.

"We are a country that has high expectations and you have to keep delivering", Southgate said. We want to stay unbeaten, we want to go and win the game.

"I know from when I worked in Qatar with him he was saying how good Kane was". The fearless mentality. That's the way he is at the minute.

Speaking on ITV after the game, Giggs was quick to note that Rashford has all the abilities to become a truly top player over the next few years.

"We have got goalscorers and we have got some attacking players that we think will cause problems to any team in the world".

"Of course you want the fans on side". The positive thing from those matches, however, was that Southgate deployed a 3-4-2-1 system, after sticking solidly to a four-man defence throughout qualification. For a number of years England's finest have given the impression that turning out for their country is an unwanted diversion from the serious business of playing in the Premier League, where their limited technical skills can be masked by the mastery of their foreign teammates. But it's going to happen and when it does I'm sure it will absolutely huge.

GARY CAHILL: Looked solid enough for most of the night but when Slovenia did get forward the Chelsea man got dragged into looking nervy.

Best known for the squandered penalty against Germany that denied England a place in the final of the 1996 European Championship on home soil, Southgate joked fans "might find it hard to find much love for me".

The likes of Portugal, Holland and Italy might cast an envious eye at the Three Lions' qualification with a trip to Lithuania still to go but Thursday's arduous Wembley win over Slovenia - a grind on the pitch and a trial in the stands - felt anything but celebratory.

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