England players need opportunity to develop

Gareth Southgate has called for patience as he readies his England squad for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.

“We have to keep winning football matches, and the more we can play football which excites people and score goals will, of course, start to win people over,” said the national team coach. “We’ve got some good characters and personalities [in the squad] that maybe the public don’t necessarily understand fully or know properly.

“We’ve tried to be open as we can be. I think that’s really important. We’re in an era where it must be difficult for the supporters to relate to players because of what they earn and all of the hullabaloo that is around them. But these are good kids, desperate to play for England.

“At the moment they just need the chance to grow. My job is to support them and make sure we give them that opportunity. We’ve got a group of players who I am proud to manage because they want to pull on the England shirt, they are prepared to try and improve and, as a coach and as a manager, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”