Gareth Southgate turns to Golden Generation in bid to enhance English fortunes
Gareth Southgate is ready to tap into the recollections of the ‘Golden Generation’ to ensure his England stars avoid the same fate.
The manager wants his squad to fulfil their potential after previous teams struggled to live up to expectations.
The Three Lions were labelled the Golden Generation between 2001 and 2010 but never got past a quarter-final in a major tournament, even failing to reach Euro 2008.
Southgate has paid attention to Frank Lampard’s comments in the media, spoken to Paul Scholes, and would also not rule out meeting Rio Ferdinand or David Beckham as he looks to learn from them.
“It’s important to get a feel of what those guys felt,” said Southgate. “They were a team that won so much in terms of their club careers on the biggest of stages and didn’t quite get where they wanted to with England.
“That said, should they be underestimated now? I don’t quite know what the reality is.
“I’ve read Frank talking about playing in a way that was expected of them rather than the way that got the best from him.
“I’ve got to think about the environment I create for the players to allow them to be as good as they can be, and the tactical system as well, but it is probably the mindset and environment as much as anything.
“Some of Frank’s comments resonated and then bumping into Paul as well. These are guys I played with and respect hugely so the more insight I get into them the better.
“Paul admitted he didn’t quite play the same way for England as he did with his club. There’s something around feeling comfortable, being comfortable with the environment.
“Paul mentioned that at United he knew when and where people were going to make the runs.
“It’s important we get the best out of the players we’ve got. None of them are at Scholes’ level yet, it’s important they recognise that.”
Southgate is preparing England to face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier in Glasgow on Saturday before a friendly in France on June 13.
He will have Harry Kane available for the first time in his reign with the Tottenham striker aiming to end an international goal drought.
Kane defended his Golden Boot after scoring 29 times in the Premier League – including seven in his final two games – but has not scored for England for over a year after a barren Euro 2016.
The 23-year-old has missed the last six games because of injury but Southgate has drawn comparisons to Alan Shearer, who scored 30 goals in 60 games for England.
He said: “Goal scorers are usually about scoring goals for themselves, so there’s always that balance. So I see that resemblance that if you have won the game and they haven’t scored, they both had the hump. I think Harry also gets the bigger picture of what is important for the team, as Alan did as well.
“I would say both are very single-minded and their hunger for scoring and their hunger to be top of those scoring charts was a huge driving factor for them, definitely.
“He was in the first squad we picked for the under-21s and I could immediately see what an outstanding finisher he was. What has always impressed me is that he has the mentality to be the best player he can possibly be.”