James Ward-Prowse is in line to win his first England cap
Monday, March 20, 2017
England’s ambition to become the best in the world was laid out in a powerful presentation by manager Gareth Southgate, but Wayne Rooney was not there to hear it.
Bowing out at the group stage of the last World Cup and then to Iceland at Euro 2016 saw the Three Lions plummet to a low that the former defender is charged of dragging them up from.
Wednesday’s opponents Germany are role models for the improvements required if England are challenge for a major trophy – an ambition outlined by Southgate in a presentation at St George’s Park on Monday morning.
The 46-year-old invited those in his thoughts but not the squad to join the group and, while it was always subject to club commitments, only Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland – out since last March’s friendly in Germany – made the trip.
Rooney was conspicuous by his absence as he stayed at Manchester United to undergo treatment on an injury sustained in a collision with Phil Jones, missing a meeting in which new boy James Ward-Prowse revealed the lofty ambitions outlined.
“It was a very powerful message,” the Southampton midfielder said, before confirming Rooney was not there.
“It is one that the Under-21s have received before, sort of highlighted about the highs and lows of a career and the ambitions that he sees for us.
“And you know, we want to establish ourselves as a top team in the world.
“So it is all about plugging away at those goals and making sure that what we do now stands us in good stead for when we reach major tournaments.”
Asked what the goal is, Ward-Prowse added: “I think obviously we want to be the best in the world.
“If you want to win major tournaments, then you’ve got to become that sort of team.
“In every department – the medical side of it, technical and tactical, the operations and the way we things work – we all want to be the best and make sure we give ourselves a chance to succeed.”