English football grumble, grumble, grumble.
We’ve had enough of the hate. English football is in a good place at international level, and we’re here to prove it.
So sit back, get your wally brolly out, forget about how we used to shove Paul Scholes out to the left of midfield and drink it all in.
1 We’ve got a better home attendance in qualifying than Democratic Republic of Congo
Now before you say that having a better home attendance than DR Congo is nothing to brag about, allow us to drop this nugget of knowledge.
England have the highest average attendance during World Cup 2018 qualification, with DR Congo’s Kinshasa faithful following in second.
So much for no one attending home games.
2 We’re World Cup and European Championship holders
Fifty-one years of hurt?
We don’t know what you’re talking about. England are currently
Under-20 World Cup and Under-19 European Championship holders.
Even through complete luck we’re surely going to manage to progress a few of these youngsters, like Ryan Sessegnon and Marcus Edwards, into the first-team.
Gareth Southgate hasn’t been shy in bringing his former Under-21 students with him, so there’s less of a block on young talent than in previous years.
3 We’re unbeaten
England haven’t lost a competitive game at home in nine years. Nine years.
We’ve lost two competitive games at home in the 21st century. We’re unbeaten during the current qualification phase.
In short, we’re very good when it comes to qualifying for tournament football. Let’s just not talk about Euro 2008 qualification, because everyone knows that tournament never actually took place.
4 France 0-0 Luxembourg
There’s nothing like laughing at your rivals’ troubles to make you feel better about yourself.
France’s squad cost their respective clubs an estimated £406m, while Luxembourg cost the equivalent of £27,000.
The moral of the story? There’s no easy games in international football. Yes, we did steal that straight out of Glenn Hoddle’s commentary bingo.
5 We’ve got a holy trinity
Admit it. Even the biggest international grouch enjoys watching Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli and Harry Kane play for England.
In Kane England have one of the best forwards in a Europe with a strike rate comparable to the very best, and in Alli we’ve got a player with grace and guile in equal measure.
Add Rashford, who, dare we say it, looks the best player to come through the England set-up since Rooney, and we’ve got a genuinely exciting trio.
Southgate even tried to reign in our optimism by playing Rashford woefully out of position, but not even that could stop the 19-year-old.
6 We’re a bit of a nasty bunch
From Alli’s middle finger, to Eric Dier snapping anything that moves vaguely fast in half, this England side has a bit of an edge to it.
Southgate’s job will be making sure the players stay the right side of the line and don’t let their emotions get the better of them or, in other words, taping Alli’s fingers together.
It’s nice to see and England side that want to play for each other though, even if it does boil over sometimes.
7 We’ve got a new national anthem
For years people have complained about ‘God Save the Queen’ and it looks like the FA have finally took note.
So, all together now…
‘The ting goes skrrra pap pap ka ka ka skidiki pap pap and a pu pu drrrr boom skyaaa du du ku ku tun tun poom poom’.
Kevin de Bruyne or Sadio Mane? Why not pick both in this weekend’s big game?
That’s the beauty of Dream Team Weekender – there are no budget limitations so you can pick any player available from this weekend’s fixtures, with Man City v Liverpool the pick of the bunch.
Weekender is the best new fantasy football game around and it’s absolutely free to enter.
Just select seven players from across the Saturday and Sunday Premier League fixtures for your chance to bag that tasty £20k prizepot.
Flopped last week? It doesn’t matter, as Weekender allows you to start afresh every single weekend. Let the games begin – sign up to play here!