MX23RW : Friday, October 19 16:13:34

English humour lost in translation, says Three Lions boss Southgate

Croatia accused English football of showing disrespect before their World Cup semi-final clash in Russia.

England manager Gareth Southgate believes English humour can sometimes be misconstrued as a sense of entitlement as he defended the approach of his players at the World Cup.

The Three Lions take on Croatia in Rijeka on Friday night just 93 days after they suffered semi-final heartbreak against the same opponents.

After their 2-1 extra-time win in Moscow, midfielder Luka Modric spoke out against what he considered to be a level of disrespect shown towards Croatia.

View this post on Instagram

MD-1 👀

A post shared by England (@england) on

He and manager Zlatko Dalic again aired those beliefs on the eve of the behind-closed-doors Nations League meeting on the Adriatic coast, as Modric claimed that it gave Croatia extra motivation to make sure they beat Southgate’s men.

England fans ensured the “It’s coming home” refrain went viral during the tournament as belief grew that World Cup success could be achieved against the odds.

But Southgate, part of the squad at Euro 96 when the hit from Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds which contained the phrase first made its mark, insists his players and staff show nothing but respect for their opponents.

“The song is humour isn’t it – it is English humour,” he said.

“Unless you’re a fan of Fawlty Towers and stuff like that maybe you don’t get the slant on it. It is interesting how we are viewed by the rest of the world sometimes when you travel.

“I’m always putting across the importance of representing our country in the right way and I think the rest of the world does sometimes view us in a certain way and feel that we have a sense of entitlement.

“But I can only speak for this group of players and this group of staff – it is not how we work and is not what we believe.

“We want to be competitive and we don’t want to be showing too much respect on the pitch but certainly in terms of what we believe of the opponents, particularly some of the players in this team, we couldn’t have more respect for them.”

Posted by England football team on Thursday, October 11, 2018

Speaking in the bowels of the HNK Stadion Rijeka, which will be eerily quiet for the game as Croatia serve the last of a two-match stadium ban, Manchester City defender John Stones echoed the sentiments of his international manager.

“I saw his (Modric’s) comments after the game and it wasn’t the best thing to read,” he said.

“As players we always show whatever team we are playing the utmost respect, never come out and say anything to the media that disrespects another team or do anything to make teams think that.

“I think the thing we do is concentrate on ourselves and always be respectful of who we are playing and Gareth said it before, they have got some world-class players.

Croatia Training and Press Conference – Stadion HNK Rijeka
Croatia’s Luka Modric was not a fan of England’s “It’s Coming Home” chant (Tim Goode/PA)

“We said that at the tournament and I think that is the humbleness and humility we have as players. We know what situations we are in and respect what players we come up against.”

James Maddison, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho – the first player born this millennium to get a call-up – are with the senior side for the first time, while Ben Chilwell could make his first start after fellow left-backs Danny Rose and Luke Shaw withdrew.

James Tarkowski, Alex McCarthy and Danny Welbeck have also left with complaints of their own, compounding existing injury issues.

And while Southgate’s squad cannot match the hosts’ experience, the England manager scoffed at the suggestion his side would be experimental in Rijeka.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town – Premier League – King Power Stadium
Ben Chilwell could make his full England debut at left-back (Nigel French/PA)

“No, we’re here to try and get a result,” he added.

“The team we play will be a team we believe in, whoever is ready to start.

“There’s nobody in the squad that’s here that we’re not thinking of putting into the team. It’s not experimentation, it’s players we believe in.

“Players that, OK, in a lot of cases are relatively inexperienced at the highest level, but players we’ve enjoyed working with have shown in training this week that they can handle this level. And we’ll pick a team that we think is the best one to win the game.”

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account