MISSION POSSIBLE GARETH SOUTHGATE reckons England are on Mission Possible at the Qatar World Cup.
The Three Lions boss, preparing for Monday’s opener against Iran, has told his 26-man squad to think big again after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties.
England are bidding to go one step further at the World Cup after Euros heartbreak.
Southgate feels there is a real longevity in England’s current squad.
Southgate said: “Maybe we’ve made the impossible just look possible.
“It’s exciting for other people and I can understand that.
“We want England to be competitive for years to come and I believe our academy system has got that.
“We have also got some good players and should be competitive for the next six, eight years with this group.
Southgate has a strong squad to pick from but James Maddison has not recovered from a knee injury, while Kyle Walker is still recovering from a groin problem — although could be back for Friday’s USA clash.
England may go with a back four against an Iran side ranked 20th in the world, one below Wales.
Southgate added: “We are in the middle of an economic recession and life has been difficult for a lot of our people.
“We want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with the team that brings some happiness.
“We have a tough game, though, and the team knows what to expect.”
England skipper Harry Kane is hoping to finish top scorer for the second successive World Cup.
He said: “You can’t take anything for granted. I was lucky enough to play in the 2018 World Cup.
“I’m really looking forward to this one.”
Kane says England’s recent run of six games without a win makes them more determined.
The Spurs ace insisted: “We back ourselves against any team. It’s down to us.
“It’s been a quick turnaround but we’re really looking forward to getting the tournament started.
“Iran are defensively very strong and compact. From a striker’s point of view, it will be difficult.”