England are closing in on their last two major tournaments under Gareth Southgate, who rebuilt the national team after a poor performance at Euro 2016 under former manager Roy Hodgson.
Like everyone else, Marcus Rashford knows football memories are getting shorter and shorter.
Just over a week ago, Gareth Southgate was being chanted by England fans after their 6-2 win over Iran and was being booed in the tunnels of Al Bait Stadium on Friday.
Rashford smiled: “When you’re winning, you’re the best team in the world and when you’re losing, you’re the worst.” Or so the Manchester striker might say, even when you play a decent US team.
But Rashford’s memory is a bit better than your average fan’s six years ago, when England were knocked out of Euro 2016 in Iceland.
Rashford is only 25, but this is only his fourth England cap and remains a stark contrast to the dark days of his early days when Southgate came under fire for his encounters with the Americans.
He said: “I don’t think I need to be a genius to see how we’ve improved since 2016. I was there (Southgate) for a short time before but the standard of training wasn’t very high.
“For players, it’s black and white, if you don’t train well, you can’t expect to play well and go into games and win just because you think you’re a better player.
“In the past, there were a few problems with the quality of education and people’s efforts. But it has been good, rough and challenging since Gareth became England manager.
“In 2016, if you look at the performance when we were eliminated from Euros, it’s a million miles away from where we are now. You can’t really compare the two situations. For me, you can’t compare the feeling around the camp. I think the confidence level is where it needs to be. “
Roy Hodgson, who made his debut for him in May 2016, may not like to hear Rashford’s analysis, but Southgate has been a fantastic support in everything he has done during his time as national manager.
Remember, it’s Southgate who hasn’t picked Rashford for 16 months since the Euro 2021 final.
But after coming on against Iran and scoring for the first time since missing a penalty at Euro 2020, Rashford never seemed to go away.
And he has every confidence that this team is improving, despite a six-match unbeaten run at Qatar 2022.
He explained: “We’ve come a long way. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way. We feel like we’re a really strong team that can play against any team and win. We’re not afraid of anyone. We believe in ourselves and how we can affect the outcome of the game. believe that
“We want to win games, score goals, play attacking football. If we can entertain, we really want to do that.
“We’re there for each other in the bad times and the good times. It’s up to us to prove that we have what it takes to win, but do I believe that? Yes.”