As an avid supporter of football, I naively become head-over-heels excited every time the two-year wait for an international tournament comes to an end. However, I probably do not speak for myself when I say that I was pleased to see the back of the last one. We all remember that embarrassing display against Iceland that meant we had to pack our bags early, yet again.
But focus and inspiration can breed from misery and pain. That is exactly what Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has argued in front of the British press this morning. Alli was one of the starting XI for that torrid game in Nice, which concluded the most uninspiring England tournament performance I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching.
However, Alli claims that it was that loss that helped create a fresh mentality in the England dressing room. He says that the England players look to that performance for a source of strength, to overcome the nation’s disappointment. Dele commented that,
“It was important we went through it so that it doesn’t happen again. I think as a team, and as individuals, we’re stronger from going through that.”
— Dele (@dele_official) October 6, 2017
Dele Alli continued to reflect on that tournament by sharing some childhood memories about when he used to watch the Three Lions as a young lad with hopes to one-day bear the badge,
“Growing up you see the big tournaments being played, you see it on the TV, look at all the flags flying out of the windows and seeing how much it means to the country, to be a part of it was massive but the way it ended was a huge disappointment.”
Which, makes us fans realise that these England players have experienced the other side of the tournament as well, they know a World Cup binds brother to brother, whatever club you may support.
Dele Said that,
“It was a very sad time for me, not just for me but for all of the players. We felt that we not only let our country down, but we let ourselves down as well”
Dele Alli could be instrumental for England in the 2018 World Cup
Pubs, BBQs, street parties, flags, bunting, banners, painted faces and all the things that make an international tournament special weigh-in on the mind of our England players. They disappointed themselves and the nation two years ago, but are ready to overcome that loss and work together for the Russia World Cup 2018.
Dele Alli has had another fantastic season for Tottenham Hotspur and has been an integral force in pushing the club closer and closer to a top-four finish, and towards FA Cup victory. Alli has only scored two goals for England in 22 appearances but believes the current form of his club will contribute to his England performances.
— England (@England) March 21, 2018
We can only hope that Dele Alli’s words ring true for the whole squad
Not to place a jinx upon the heads of our Three Lions, but England were victorious in eight of their ten qualifying games for the World Cup. They face Italy and the Netherlands over the international break, which will surely be an acid test to the team’s character. We are now months away from the real deal. If the team swan out on to the field and treat the match as a run-of-the-mill friendly, if they seem flat, if they show little effort after conceding goals, then we will know the true mentality of the squad altogether. There is no excuse to not pour your heart on to the field so close to the start of this tournament. We want to see unity, we want to see passion, and to hear the lions roar; we want to see a force to be reckoned with, a force to fear, a force to support.