They run, they run the English. This is the main characteristic of the Three Lions, an English selection which is preparing to challenge the French team, in Qatar, in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, this Saturday, December 10 (8 p.m.).
They run and they go fast, propelled by their lightning youth. Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford, who are among the fastest players in the English championship, make up this new athletic generation at work.
Around these young shoots revolves another generation, made up of experienced players. Kyle Walker (32) who, despite looking like a mover, is considered one of the most enduring right defenders on the circuit. Harry Maguire (29) who, after months of wandering with his Manchester United club, seems to be living again in selection. Striker Harry Kane (29), released from a weight after unlocking his counter against Senegal. Jordan Henderson (32), a sure bet in the midfield, and the “Box to Box” spirit, with English sauce.
Where the Belgians and the Germans have had difficulty mixing between the generations, the British coach Gareth Southgate has, it seems, succeeded in his mayonnaise. Like, moreover, his French counterpart Didier Deschamps.
“The reason I was given this job is because I have a good idea of these players who are coming”confided the person concerned, about the rising stars of English football, a year after taking office in 2016. “You have to give them conviction and you have to give them time, whether it’s for me to take advantage of it or the next coach. » In the space of six years, 50 players owe him their first cap, of which thirteen are or were under 21 years old.
An unworthy track record
They also run after a title. The English dream of a new major trophy, which has eluded them since 1966 and a World Cup gleaned from home. An insult to a country that claims to be one of the founding pioneers of modern football. Judged as inconsistent, like the France team this past year, the English selection can however boast of having chained a semi-final in Russia, followed by a final lost during the last Euro. Two frustrating but possibly foundational steps.
They run, finally, after an English spirit. Several years have passed since the “Golden Boys” generation, embodied by Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard or David Beckham. A golden era but with a sadly virgin track record.
This time, the “Southgate Boys” want to demonstrate an irreproachable state of mind and wish to avoid the wrath of supporters, tired of seeing the selections of neighboring countries win titles under the nose and beard of their national team. They want to protect themselves, too, from the English humor, reputed to be spicy, that the tabloids reserve for them in the event of an abortive course.
“What makes the difference is the state of mind, the determination, the desire to learn and improve”, had judged the coach of the Three Lions, at the end of the victory against Senegal in the round of 16, as if to testify to a team which is maturing. ” It will be a big challenge and an awesome game to play, with a terrific historic rivalry that has produced some great games.”, believes the England coach. To aim for the stars, they will first have to fight against the Blues and their main weapon, Kylian Mbappé. Who, as everyone knows, runs fast, very fast, too.