Foster: Southgate has impressed as England boss

STEVE FOSTER is convinced England can flourish under the leadership of Gareth Southgate.

Monday, 18th June 2018, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:53 pm
England boss Gareth Southgate. Picture: PA

The Three Lions’ World Cup finals campaign kicks off against Tunisia this evening (7pm).

There is little expectancy surrounding England.

Since Roy Hodgson’s exit following an abject elimination by Iceland in Euro 2016 and then Sam Allardyce’s controversial departure, Southgate has been put in charge.

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Foster represented England three times, including Spain 1982 when he became the last Portsmouth-born player to appear in the World Cup finals.

And the former Pompey, Luton and Brighton defender has been encouraged by Southgate’s early impact as boss.

He said: ‘I love watching the World Cup and I think it will be different, we have a good manager who seems to know what he is doing.

‘We all cringed in the Euros when Iceland beat us, there was a lack of preparation there when a 6ft 4in centre-half came up for a long throw, it’s flicked on and he scored.

‘Iceland did exactly the same the week before and I don’t think England sent any scouts or even Hodgson went to the game.

‘If they had you wouldn’t have put Wayne Rooney to mark the centre-half coming up.

‘I think Southgate has been very good so far.

‘What he is going to do is pick the best team, not just pick the best players.

‘I watched the last World Cup in 2014 and Rooney played on the left wing – yet had never played there before in his life!

‘It helps that there is no expectation around England. That’s what has happened over the last few World Cups, we expect too much and always get let down.

‘With England in 1982, we weren’t expected to win it. We had a good side but the Italians and Germans were very powerful in those days.’

‘We definitely should go through the group stages, easily, then it’s about who is in the next round.’

Southgate is expected to retain his wing-back system against Tunisia.

Although Foster is certainly not a fan of the present formation.

He added: ‘I never played in a back three.

‘Now you have three centre-halves marking one fella up front, that’s how football has changed.

‘I still cannot see why Southgate doesn’t play 4-4-2, then when you’ve got the ball it is 4-2-4, easy.

‘I think that system will come back around again soon, though.

‘It tends to happen in football.’