Mark Lawrenson: Southgate has a plan for England’s future

Mark Lawrenson talked to us recently about England's World Cup squad. He can see reason for hope in Southgate's youthful charges...

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Liverpool’s run to the final of the Champions League will be a help for England. It certainly has done no harm.

I’ve seen England at so many tournaments, the players are often down on their knees because of the strain of the Premier League, players like Henderson and Alexander-Arnold could bring some of their momentum into the tournament.

I think Southgate’s done really well in general. The squad is good, he’s going to play three at the back who are all really good footballers.

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Whatever happens here, I think in two years time they’ll be a much better side.

And think about it. If you look at Ireland going to major competitions, everybody knows we’ve done well to get there, but then people start saying “if we just get a result here, or make this change there we could get to this stage when we’d play so-and-so,” when we haven’t really got the players to win a tournament like that, but there’s still that hope.

But you now look at England and you can see that Gareth Southgate has a plan for how he wants England to play and look in the future. If England can get it right and hit their form during the tournament, the top teams won’t want to play them.

If they can get a bit of run, you’ve got Kane up front, with Vardy or Alli to support him, and if he’s getting a good supply of the ball, that can be a big thing in a tournament situation.

Southgate’s been to competitions where he’s watched England just giving the ball away and he’s decided he’s going to put a stop to that. We’re not a team that’s going to give possession away easily now, and that change should make a big difference in itself.

They’ve pace everywhere, forwards, down the sides, wingbacks. Everything about the team says pace.

The one thing you would ask is do they have enough creativity in midfield?

And you’d probably say no, but they have wingbacks who get behind people.

Obviously there’s Dele Alli, who is a really clever player, Vardy can run in behind, Kane is a master of everything he does, and a lot of the top teams will look at them and think they’d love to take three or four of their players.

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What do you think?