Southgate wants England to be like Germany after looking at their Wikipedia page

The comments will go down like a lead balloon across the pubs and clubs of England.

Gareth Southgate wants his England side to be more like the one this nation has grown to loathe for longer than it cares to remember.

Most people would rather have a night out with Vladimir Putin than look to emulate the Germans.

But there might be some method to Southgate's madness when it comes to assessing the merits of how good Germany have been in terms of winning the biggest trophies in international football. It's quite sobering to remember our old rivals have won four World Cups and three European Championships.

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Southgate reminded himself of the fact when he took to Google to see for himself on Germany's Wikipedia page ahead of the start of Qatar 2022!

The image of him doing so is a bizarre one – but Southgate would love nothing more than to help his Three Lions take a huge step towards closing the considerable gap on the Germans when it comes to bragging rights.

Winning the World Cup this winter would be one hell of a start and Southgate said: "We had to accept the criticism that came with the results in the summer.

"But it is also my responsibility to remind the players that actually there is a lot they’ve done well and coming into this tournament, they shouldn’t be focusing on the recent past.

"What there is, is pedigree. We want to be a Germany, who when I was looking at their Wikipedia page, have four golds, four silvers, four bronzes in World Cups.

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"In European Championships they have three golds, three silvers and three bronzes. Yeah, our page didn't quite look like that, but we'd love it if it did in 40 years' time – and that should be our aim. To be consistently challenging."

England kick-off their Group B campaign against Iran today (Mon) in what is expected to be Southgate's last crack at landing the biggest prize of all.

And he admits his stars are so keen to get off to a winning start that his final speech in the dressing room will be one of the easiest he's ever given.

He said: "Frankly we could get any landlord in any pub to deliver that. We've talked a lot about what we might do, big picture stuff.

We've never been to a final outside our own shores so we're trying to do things that haven't been achieved before. So that's a great challenge for them as a group.

"But now the focus has got to be the group – and Iran in particular. That's our challenge."

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, Southgate could well be coming to the end of his reign as Three Lions boss. There would be no shortage of people wanting to replace him – and some candidates have even gone public on their desires to be the next England boss.

And Southgate believes this is a sign of how he's turned what used to a poisoned chalice into a role people believe isn't mission impossible anymore.

He added: "Maybe we've made the impossible just look possible – and it's exciting for other people. I can understand that. We want England to be competitive for years to come, and should be for the next six to eight years with this group."

Predicted England XI vs Iran: (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Sterling; Kane.

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