Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

England's Raheem Sterling provid.ity that makes Gareth Southgate's dynamic system tick

TOPSHOT- England's defender Harry Maguire celebrates with England's forward Harry Kane after scoring the opener during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match Luka Modric is the world's best midfielder and Croatia's greatest player ever – Jermaine Jenas
Cary Erickson | 11 July, 2018, 19:39

In John Stones and Harry Maguire, Southgate has two centre-backs with completely different career trajectories, but perhaps, the most fascinating to watch has been Southgate's use of British football media's cursed child, Raheem Sterling.

England manager Gareth Southgate believes the best is yet to come from his maturing team - even though they are potentially 90 minutes from their first World Cup final since 1966.

Mia Šetula, a Croatian student at Bournemouth University, admitted she will be cheering for England's opponents tonight.

The Three Lions face Croatia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday (19:00 BST) in their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years.

The mum-of-three also went to the infant school herself and said: 'I'm a passionate England fan, our whole family are, and I remember Gareth from the days he used to play with the Neville brothers and David Beckham.

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"Croatia play maybe a little bit slowly... they have good players but it's another style of play".

Regardless of what happens this evening, and in Sunday's final if you dare to dream, the story of Southgate's latest World Cup is sure to be well documented in the weeks, months and years after the tournament ends. As we regroup, he turns to me and says, "Right that's enough, time to lift the tempo, let's get about them". There is no doubt that Southgate has been blessed with a plethora of English blood coming through the ranks all across top flight - if Ruben Loftus-Cheek seized his World Cup spot with a wonderful loan spell, the national team captain Harry Kane has had the most profound education - written off by many in his early years, the Tottenham Hotspur forward has been consistently sensational.

"I'm certainly proud of the support we're receiving". So I did and we won 2-0.

He said he that England would reach the final and that he expected the atmosphere in Croatia to be electric.