News   |    April 4th, 2022


Watching World Cup draws over the years has only been of passing interest in truth as football fans like me across the country generally had very low expectations of the England team and most of the time that cynicism proved well founded.It seemed incredulous that top players who performed brilliantly week in week out in the Premier League found it difficult to pass a football to a team mate three feet away or keep corners and free kicks in play.

Gareth Southgate has changed all of that. Even in friendly matches like the recent game against Ivory Coast the work ethic of the players was outstanding. The players involved can retain possession and pass the ball with great accuracy. Gareth has created a club type atmosphere and every player wants to pull on a Three Lions shirt. He has shone tactically and made the players adaptable. It seems from the outside that every player respects him and wants to perform for him. The culture is top drawer.

For that reason I was more excited about this World Cup draw than any that have gone before because this time England have a real chance of bringing the trophy home. I think the fact that the competition will be played in November and December is an advantage as our players will be at peak fitness rather than competing at the end of a long hard season.

What any team wants in a World Cup is to play themselves into the competition and so the draw is all important and in truth it couldn’t have been kinder to England. Iran, USA and any one of Wales, Scotland and Ukraine are the group opposition and the way England are playing they should qualify for the knockout stages without too much difficulty and Gareth will make sure the players keep their feet on the ground.

The tournament can’t come round quick enough. In 1966 the last two numbers in the year were the same and that is now the case in 2022. Let’s hope that is an omen and that this year really does see football coming home.  Cue the song!!

Image – Eddie Keogh – The FA via Getty Images

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management.

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