Gareth Southgate has officially taken the training wheels off of his England national team after the Three Lions were drawn into what has widely been dubbed an easy group for 2020 European Championship qualification.
[ MERSEYSIDE: Insane late goal gifts Liverpool derby win over Everton ]
Drawn alongside the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo, Southgate acknowledges the fact that England will be expected to win the group. In his mind, accepting and learning to deal with the tag of “favorites” will be an important next step in their progression toward winning a major tournament — quotes from the Guardian:
“We’re favorites, and that’s something we’ve got to start getting used to anyway. We’re going to have high expectations over the next few years, and adapting to that is probably key to our development as a team now.
“We should win the group. But if you don’t play well on any given day, you drop points and that is the reality of dealing with those sorts of matches. Nobody’s going to expect me to stand there and say it’s done already and we should just prepare for 18 months’ time.
“I think that’s where the competition for places is really important, because if our players think there’s comfort from the fixtures, then there isn’t comfort for a position in the team or in the squad. And that means that the motivation for training every day, which is what you take into your games, is really high.”