Gareth Southgate sets England key objective to prove they are a top side after World Cup
Gareth Southgate’s England stars face Spain tonight determined to prove their World Cup heroics were no summer fling.
The Three Lions boss said: “We’ve got to convince ourselves it wasn’t a one-off. That’s the most important thing. That was a moment in time.”
Skipper Harry Kane will receive the Golden Boot as the side that won back the hearts of the nation by reaching the semi-finals in Russia are welcomed back by a packed Wembley tonight.
But Southgate now wants his men to show they can beat the best by winning the inaugural Nations League.
Southgate said: “Our record against top teams in competitive games is non-existent, it is not impressive, bar Argentina in 2002 (World Cup finals in Sapporo).
“It is very rare since 1970 we have beaten those top teams.
“We have come a long way from Wembley (last year) and the fans throwing paper aeroplanes and we were thinking: ‘Why are we here?’
“But we must not stop learning and improving and this will be a good test.”
Southgate intends to send out a strong side with Spain under new boss Luis Enrique team set to provide a tough test.
Speaking at the England team hotel in Hertfordshire last night, he added: “I remember there was a lad who cycled up here to the hotel on his bike [before the World Cup], he was waiting for us – he was 13.
“He was there today, too. He felt like I did in 1990. Two generations of supporters have experienced something they’ve never experienced before.”