"What was exciting was that we were looking at the summer and what we had achieved, but, OK, what are we doing to make progress?"
There will be a wholesale team change from the one that beat the United States 3-0 on Thursday, and only Jordan Pickford from the XI who started the game probably against Croatia. At the end of the World Cup, Southgate changed from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3, and Ross Barkley is now preferred as an assistant to Dele Alli. With the potential exception of Harry & # 39; s Maguire & Kieran Trippier, this may be the strongest XI on Southgate that will face Croatia, and you can argue that both may not be elected before Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker.
The match also links two sides with the new rivalry, an example of which is the comment of the full Croatian defender Tina Jedvaj this week, who said that his side should be the favorite, and England was defeated in the summer "without any problems." Nothing will reward the defeat suffered in Moscow in Croatia, but it sounded as if Southgate were paying attention to the mood coming out of the opposition camp.
During the summer he used the words of Hakan Mild, a former Swedish midfielder who said that England is "spoiled children" in front of the World Cup quarter finals between two nations. "When people say, you give the opposition the option of using these words as they like," said Southgate. "In the summer there were comments from Sweden, which we definitely used in our favor, and you can control it in any way, because half of the players thought it was the current Swedish player and it was not, so I was not going to argue with them!"
Overcoming Croatia would make it the best year in England since 1996, and would send Southgate a four-month break to renew the challenge. He decided not to comment on the current dispute in the Professional Players Association between chairman Ben Purkiss and Gordon Taylor, because he said he barely had time to pay attention to it.
"There's a lot going on this week in the world, and my wife often says to me," You know there's a bloody world, it's not just about your damn football team. "Especially when we are in the intensity of the camp, and you work from seven in the morning to 23:30 in the evening, simply picking up the team and tactics, there is little time in the real world, but I can not wait to make up for it."