England gaffer Gareth Southgate has waved off suggestions that his player are “spoilt children” as they face Sweden in a last eight encounter at the 2018 World Cup on Saturday.
Ex-Sweden star Hakan Mild had described Southgate’s team as “spoilt children who earn a lot of money” which many believe means England might not cope during the game.
Southgate has however insisted that it is only hard work that can see his team through in the clash.
“We’re not a team where we just turn up and we’re waltzing around, strolling around and we’ve got an entitlement,” the former Middlesbrough coach told reporters. “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 [assistant coach] 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.”
He added: “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.”
Also, the coach said, “It’s nice within football to affect some things and the players have that opportunity as well because they have a voice and they have influence on young people, especially the young people from the areas they came from.”