Southgate: England are still improving

Gareth Southgate believes his young England side are maturing with every game after reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli saw England earn a relatively comfortable quarter final victory against Sweden, albeit they were indebted to several impressive second half saves from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

England will face Croatia in the final four, with a chance to reach a first World Cup final since 1966 at stake.

But Southgate is already proud of the work ethic and unity shown by his squad after overhauling the squad with young players during his 22 month reign.

“We are a team that are still improving, we know where we are and we are having success because everybody is working hard on the field,” the England manager said.

“The collective has been key, all of the support staff, all of the players have been tight. To get through the two games we had this week, we needed all of that because we’re not the finished article.

“We don’t have renowned, world-class players yet but we’ve got lots of good young players who are showing on the young stage that they can be brave on the ball, try and play the right way, have shown some mental resilience.

“We know that in years to come they will be stronger but today was a huge opportunity for us and not something we wanted to miss out on.

“I’m so, so proud of what all of the players and all of the staff have done because we’ve got to this point because the collective has been so strong.”

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