Mind the gap: Southgate’s challenge now is bridging promise and triumph | Barney Ronay

Southgate you’re the one. England’s single greatest upgrade at this World Cup: they have a manager who sweated the small stuff that makes the big stuff. The great skill of Gareth Southgate has been to manage the details around this team, to implement the “elite sport” habits of British Olympic and cycling success through sports science, psychology, useful gimmickry. A carefully-schemed team culture has been fostered. Players have been picked on the basis of ability to “buy into” this, as well as physical types: fit, athletic, good habits. England borrowed the “No Dickheads” rule from the All Blacks. And they’ve become likeable. This isn’t surprising. They haven’t got any dickheads. The fact this kind of quality is being rewarded is progress in itself. But still not quite whole again.
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