Wednesday 18 July 2018

Gareth Southgate agrees with decision not to hold England parade

The Three Lions ripped up the script to reach the tournament’s last four for the first time since 1990.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions ripped up the script to reach the tournament’s last four (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions ripped up the script to reach the tournament’s last four (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer, St Petersburg

Gareth Southgate agrees with the decision not to hold a parade for England’s returning World Cup heroes having just fallen short of the final.

The Three Lions ripped up the script to reach the tournament’s last four for the first time since 1990, losing to Croatia after extra time in Moscow on Wednesday evening.

But their return will be a much quieter affair than the one that greeted Sir Bobby Robson’s side after their heroics in Italy.

England are due to fly from St Petersburg to Birmingham on Sunday – the day after facing Belgium in the third-place play-off – and the Football Association has confirmed that there will be no public access for fans, given airport security restrictions.

There are also no public celebrations planned despite the Three Lions’ impressive achievements in Russia, which could yet see them become the most successful team since the 1966 champions.

“I mean, the reality is it’s not actually my decision (not to hold a parade),” England boss Southgate said. “But I agree with the decision.

“I think if we make the final, maybe it’s different.

“I must say the support we’ve had from home and the feeling of support is immense.

“To have been able to make a difference is something that will live with us all forever, so we can tell the way that the country has united behind football and that’s maybe more important than the performance in some respects.

“But if we have a parade, that would have been one part of the country and we represent the whole country as well.

“The feeling we have is we’re proud and we hope that – come our matches in September – that warm feeling about international football will be there again.

“We’re very proud but we haven’t won in the end and there is, I guess, a balance of all of that.”

Fabian Delph echoed his manager’s sentiments and is the only member of the group to have got a taste of the excitement back home, having returned to England for the birth of his third daughter.

“I actually got the opportunity to go home for a few days, so I experienced what it was like back there,” the midfielder said.

“I then came back and told the lads how amazing it was, the support that we had.

“In terms of coming back to 300,000 fans, that would be nice. But it’s not going to happen.

“Hopefully when we come back in the next tournaments, we can come back one step further and it’ll feel a lot better.”

Press Association

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