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Gareth Southgate: 'Club rivalries no longer a problem for England'

Southgate: 'Club rivalries not a problem'
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Gareth Southgate is not worried about club rivalries coming to the fore when England set off for the World Cup next week.

England manager Gareth Southgate has insisted that club rivalries will not taint his side's hopes of enjoying a successful World Cup campaign in Russia.

Former internationals Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have spoken openly in the lead-up to the finals about a previous lack of team spirit in the Three Lions' camp due to their club connections, each being synonymous with a different Premier League side.

Southgate is adamant that such an issue is no longer a problem, though, and the 47-year-old has challenged his players to now "make their own history" over the next six weeks.

"We have listened to compelling interviews from Rio and Frank and Steven and we've used those to say we've got to make sure we put those club situations to one side, but I don't think there is that intense rivalry at the moment between our top clubs that there was then," he told reporters.

"The past can help us and inform us but it shouldn't shape us and we've got to be our own team. We've spoken at length this week about how we're really proud to represent everybody but really the guy next to you is the most important one going into this tournament.

"This is a diverse team with different sets of skills and they've got a chance to make their own history. Whenever you're in an England shirt you have an opportunity to make history."

England, unbeaten in their last 10 matches, get their World Cup campaign up and running with a meeting against Tunisia on June 18.

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