Southgate: We’ve improved relationship with fans


England manager Gareth Southgate has claimed his side have won over supporters, having had a difficult relationship with them prior to the World Cup.

The Three Lions have routinely failed to deliver on expectations at major tournaments since their solitary World Cup triumph in 1966. The last time they made the semi-finals of the tournament was in 1990.

England were criticised for their performances during World Cup qualifiers, despite finishing top of a group which included Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta. However, by making it out of the group stage, they have already improved on their 2014 showing.

“Ten months ago we qualified [for the World Cup] and people were throwing paper aeroplanes onto the pitch at Wembley,” Southgate was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“We were driving back to our hotel in Malta with some obscene chants being thrown at us from supporters.

“I feel like we’ve started to connect the team with the public again. I feel like we’ve created excitement, like we’ve played in a style that has really shown an expression of what young English players are capable of.”

The Three Lions finished second in Group G, beating Tunisia 2-1 and Panama 6-1 before going down 1-0 to Belgium.

They will be looking to return to winning ways and qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 when they face Colombia at the Spartak Stadium on Tuesday.