World Cup Warm-Up: Jamie Vardy's not having a party as England shun homecoming
England are keeping things understated as they prepare to fly home from the World Cup - plus there's the matter of one last game to sort out first...
FRIDAY’S BIG HEADLINES
England to avoid coming-home party
In 1990, when England returned home after losing in a World Cup semi-final, they were met by 300,000 adoring fans at Luton Airport. A sense of having reconnected with supporters, a revival of the national team, was consecrated when Bobby Robson and his players received their heroes’ welcome and Paul Gascoigne wore a pair of pendulous plastic breasts with ‘Gazza’ emblazoned on them. Truly magical scenes.
"There is no planned celebration at this point. We are not actively promoting the date, the time or even the airport they will return to."
This is apparently the doing of Waistcoast Wearer of the Year 2018 Gareth Southgate, who wants to impress on his players that nothing has been achieved yet. They need to stay grounded. As a source told the Telegraph:
"There is a lot of talk of celebrations but Gareth Southgate is quite modest. He’s the one himself who’s saying: ‘No, this is too much. There’s a lot of work still to do.’ He wants everyone just to take stock and focus on the next match, the next tournament."
Which does seem entirely in keeping with Southgate’s calm and considered style of management, even if it does seem a shame that we don't witness the exact moment when Harry Maguire realises he’s become the most popular person in the country - and Jamie Vardy doesn't get to party.
England’s 2020 vision
Ryan Sessegnon had plenty to celebrate at the EFL Awards (Mark Kerton/PA)PA Sport
And it turns out Southgate has no time for victory glorious defeat parades as he’s too busy beavering away on his plans for Euro 2020. In fact, the Daily Mirror even has the names of four players who will shortly make the step up to the senior side and form a big part of England’s plans in qualifying.
Potentially the most exciting thing about England’s amazing World Cup summer is the realisation that given England are U17 and U20 world champions from 2017 – the first two World Cups they have won at any level since 1966 – the players coming through are even better than the current crop.
And with that in mind, Southgate is reportedly ready to bring in Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, 23; Fulham sensation Ryan Sessegnon, 18; Manchester City wunderkind Phil Foden, 18; and Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, 19.
The future is undeniably bright.
Shaqiri set for Liverpool move
Stoke’s portly playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri is on the brink of becoming Liverpool’s third signing of the summer – for cheap as chips.
Hard to see how that isn’t worth it.
WORLD CUP SHORTS
The Warm-Up is currently trying to ascertain if it has French ancestry after watching this:
Yeah… good luck with this Dejan.
Forget your psychic pigs, marmosets or even parrots (sorry, Newton), Steve McManaman is the true football oracle, picking 12 of 14 correct results in the knockout stages. And his tip for the final, made before the last-16 even started? France to beat Croatia…
WORLD CUP MEMORIES
England’s last appearance in a third-fourth play-off turned out to be an eventful affair, eventually. In his final appearance before retiring with a record number of caps, Peter Shilton made a shocking error to allow Roberto Baggio to score on 71 minutes. David Platt then continued his incredible tournament with a booming header on 80 minutes. But the last word went to Salvatore Schillaci, who scored from the spot after being chopped down by our very own Paul Parker.
The final rest day of World Cup 2018 means you should have a bit of room to enjoy the men’s semi-finals at Wimbledon or the latest stage of the Tour de France – but tomorrow it’s back with England taking on Belgium for the right to call themselves the third-place finishers at the World Cup. A title which literally no one ever uses.
Adam Hurrey lost in a semi-final to Nick Miller and therefore draws the short straw of previewing the third-place play-off tomorrow. Watch as he rests all his good content and gives some of his weaker material a rare run-out.