• England learn from Southgate’s footballers

    Captain Eoin Morgan has drawn parallels between England’s experience at last year’s Football World Cup with the expectations associated with 2019’s global cricket tournament in the United Kingdom.

    Morgan’s men, whose World Cup campaign will start against South Africa at The Oval in London on Thursday, spent time with English football manager Gareth Southgate earlier this year.

    Southgate related the experiences and insights gathered during the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia, which ended in a two-one defeat to Croatia in the semi-final.

    ‘Yes, we did a session with Gareth. And it was brilliant. He talked about his journey with the team in and around the World Cup, and its buildup and how they built bigger expectations and came together more as a group,’ said Morgan.

    ‘I think everybody who has been involved with our team over the last four years recognised that they are where we were two years ago, and that we started exactly where they did. We recognised what had happened in the past, tried to do things differently and moved forward.

    ‘Gareth did brilliantly. They got to the semi-final and everybody said it was great. But we got knocked out of the Champions Trophy semi-final and everyone said we were crap.’

    England currently occupy first position in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI teams – and remain in pursuit of a maiden World Cup title.

    ‘The level of expectation and favourite tag are there for a reason. Over the last two years, our form at home, in particular, has been outstanding. That’s the reason the expectation is there,’ added Morgan.

    ‘There’s a lot of belief within the room. The transformation of the team has been brilliant. We’re very confident within our own game.’

    Photo: Gallo Images

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