England fans are famous for their patriotism when it comes to their national sports team. Usually, fans of the Three Lions are optimistic about their team’s chances of success at major tournaments. However, the current England team under Gareth Southgate seems to be heading to this summer’s World Cup with little expectation.
Last tournament displays lowered expectations
One reason for England fans low expectations is the team’s disastrous Euro 2016 campaign when the Three Lions suffered a humiliating last 16 2-1 defeat against surprise-package Iceland.
The defeat is regarded as the one of the worse England have suffered in the modern era of the game. The fact that the Three Lions exited the World Cup at the group stage last time out has also led to the low opinion of the England side heading to Russia this summer.
Highly rated individual players
Looking at the England team on paper there are some highly-rated players in that 23-man squad. The likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling were two of the top performers in the Premier League last season.
Kane was once again one of the top scorers in the English top-flight, while Sterling enjoyed the most productive season of his career so far helping Manchester City to dominate the English top-flight.
Then there is the likes of Kane’s Spurs teammate Dele Alli, who although he did not experience the best of seasons is still a highly dangerous attacking player on his day. There is still much more to come from the former MK Dons star in the future.
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard has been a late developer. However, like Sterling, the Red Devils attacker heads to Russia on the back of the best season of his professional career so far at the top level.
Lingard’s link-up with Alli last time out against Nigeria in a 2-1 win was particularly promising for the Three Lion. The pair are both intelligent players, who add dynamism and guile to the strength and focal point of Kane.
England unlikely to win the World Cup
Even the hard-core England fans would not expect England to win the World Cup. While the attacking part of the team seems to be in good shape, there are still major question marks about the goalkeeping position and defence.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is currently in possession of the number shirt. The former Sunderland goalkeeper has performed well in his first three games for the Three Lions, conceding just once. However, there are still question marks over his experience at international level.
Boss Southgate has decided to deploy a three-man defence in recent games and it has proven pretty successful. There are still doubts over who will start in that three-man defence, though, as there were not been many outstanding English centre-backs in the top-flight last season.
Despite those doubts, the current England team certainly have the potential to go further than in the last two international tournaments. Gareth Southgate might not be the dull boss many have painted him as in the press.
How far will England go at this summer’s World Cup?