England manager Gareth Southgate says his team are as focused and as humble as ever amid Swedish claims they are a ‘team of entitlement’ ahead of Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final.
Former Blagult international Hakan Mild accused the English of being ‘spoilt children who earn a lot of money’, and the retired midfielder takes the view that the 1966 World Champions are underestimating the Scandinavians.
The two sides are set to meet at the Samara Arena in southwestern Russia with a place in the semi-finals on the line.
Nonetheless, Southgate takes the view that his players come from humble backgrounds and insists there is no sense of complacency within the ranks.
Speaking to reporters, the 47-year-old said: “We’re lads who have come from Barnsley and Leeds and Bolton and Blackburn.
“That’s so important for us on Saturday because I always think Sweden like to point out we’re paid this and that, and we’re the team of entitlement when I don’t think that is the case for this group.
“It’s important we remember Steve (Holland) was at Crewe. I was at Crystal Palace when they weren’t quite as good as they are now. We’ve scrapped and fought our way.
“Most of our boys have played in the Championship or lower, whether they started there or played on loan there. They are really important messages for us.
“We are having success because we are really grafting for each other, we are playing some good football but we are really working without the ball.
“No passengers, nobody failing to close down, nobody strolling around. That’s the bedrock of why we are getting some decent results and we have to continue doing that.”