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5 things England need to improve ahead of the World Cup

| 14.11.2017

Three Lions must embrace failure, not be afraid of it

England begin their World Cup 2018 preparations with a friendly against Germany at Wembley on Friday evening.

Gareth Southgate’s squad then face Brazil at the same venue the following Tuesday.

Those two fixtures will be the first of a number of warm-ups before the finals in Russia this summer.

The Three Lions have a long history of under-performing at major tournaments – underpinned by the exit to Iceland at Euro 2016.

The Coral News Team has put together a list of five things England need to improve heading into the June showpiece.

Mental toughness

It’s become a tired cliché at this stage but it’s as true now as it was when it was first mooted.

England players have been folding under pressure for a long time.

Think back to the collapse against Iceland. Finishing bottom of the group at World Cup 2012. The Last-16 4-1 defeat to Germany at World Cup 2010.

Psychologist Dr. Steve Peters had been working with the squad for a couple of years before leaving. It’s arguable his expertise may be needed again.

Play more youngsters

There is a swagger about the new generation of young England talent. They’re coached better, and more confident up against continental opponents.

Harry Winks’ stellar performance against Real Madrid was a prime example. 

Don’t be afraid to throw the kids in – particularly if they’re good enough. They will not fear it.

Use the Spurs model

Pound-for-pound, Tottenham Hotspur have been the success story of the last few seasons.

Mauricio Pochettino has developed a fantastic team with an English spine, playing superb football.

Use as many of the Spurs players in the positions they’re accustomed to on their club sides.

Build the side around Winks, Alli, and Kane – it’s a recipe for success.

Don’t be afraid to be aggressive

Teams tend to play in their manager’s mould or personality – which will be a problem for England, unfortunately.

Gareth Southgate is a calm, steady kind of character. He gets the job done, no-nonsense. That might not suit this group of players.

They need to be playing football on the front-foot. Play good, technical football, but get stuck into the opposition.

To go back to the Spurs template, they are your arch-typical English team – a high-press, aggressive, and attacking.

Southgate needs to be bold and go for it.

Pick a goalkeeper and stick with him

England have had a bit of an issue at goalkeeper for a couple of seasons now.

Joe Hart seemingly remains the first choice for Southgate but his form is worrying. And his ability has been called into question a number of times.

There’s a plethora of English goalkeeping talent right now. They must go with the form keeper and stick with him.

Whether that’s Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, or Tom Heaton – it’s becoming clear, it’s not Joe Hart anymore.

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Cian Carroll