The Three Lions began their campaign in Russia with little expected of youthful side building for the future, but opinions are starting to change fast
Former Chelsea legend and current Derby County manager Frank Lampard has stated his belief that England can ‘go all the way’ at the World Cup.
Expectations of the Three Lions were dampened somewhat heading into the showpiece in Russia, with many keen to keep the pressure off what is a historically underachieving side at major tournaments.
A successful qualifying campaign was marred by what many perceived to be boring football, leading to speculation over whether Gareth Southgate’s charges would be able to make their mark on the competition.
Southgate opted to switch to a more attacking formation ahead of the World Cup, however, with an exciting 3-5-2 set-up delivering more free-flowing football that fans immediately warmed to.
And now, following England’s 6-1 thumping of Panama, those same fans have been joined by Lampard in starting to believe that football could indeed be coming home.
“I think we can go all the way, I genuinely do,” Lampard told the BBC’s World Cup Daily Podcast.
“I don’t see why we would be negative enough to start going ‘oh we have to get to the quarter finals’
“I think the team have shown in their performances – and this is not me getting ahead of myself – just look at the talent in our squad and the way they’re playing, why should we write ourselves off?
“Yes, the players will focus game by game and day by day, that’s tournament football, that’s what they have to do.
“But ourselves from the outside, we can look in and say ‘this team has a real chance’.
“I think it was one of a multitude of issues in previous years that we analysed everything specific on individuals and ended up creating a lot of arguments around what is a team sport – and we want the best for the team.
“I think huge credit to Gareth Southgate there that he’s been so fluid with the system, he’s changed the philosophy of the team over the last two years to the way they’re playing.
“We’ve got so many more options when we’re on the ball now because we’re not playing a very basic 4-4-2, which we played for many a year.