Gareth Southgate has rejected suggestions that England’s players do not care about representing their country.
England were boeed by their own fans during Friday’s ‘unconvincing’ 4-0 win in Malta and critics on social media said the players were not motivated.
Southgate blasted the booing directed at his players — “I don’t see how it can help the team” — and said the age-old English obsession with passion and pride missed the point.
“I fully recognise that our job is to try and entertain and excite the supporters,” Southgate told journalists at the Tottenham Hotspur training ground in Enfield, north London on Sunday.
“But we’re all Englishmen, we want to progress to a World Cup and we’re in this together.”
“The notion the players aren’t proud to play is outrageous, really, because they’re unbelievably proud to play.”
“At times we won’t play as well as we’d like to, but there’s nobody in that dressing room that’s giving me less than 100 percent.”
He added: “The easiest, basest reaction is to say: ‘Oh, they don’t care.'”
“More often than not, players have cared too much and have been wrapped up in the whole experience too much and not been able to give their best for that reason.”
“Having worn the shirt, that’s where I think I can bring some context to it. Because it’s not about ‘caring’.”