England’s most-capped player, Peter Shilton, believes the “togetherness” in the current squad has been a key factor in their success.
Gareth Southgate’s England squad reached their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years after beating Sweden 2-0 on Saturday and will play Croatia on Wednesday in Moscow for a place in the final.
Shilton, who was England’s goalkeeper the last time they reached the last four in 1990, told Sky Sports the current side’s collective identity can help them reach their first World Cup final since 1966, when they went on to win the tournament.
“There’s not one ego in the team,” Shilton said. “There’s no big player saying look I’m the star of the tournament, this is all about me, the publicity is about me.
“Our best player is Harry Kane and look how humble he is. I think that is what the squad is all about. Their togetherness is a big factor in their success.”
Shilton also revealed he had his doubts about Southgate because of his lack of experience.
Southgate had two managerial roles prior to being appointed England manager in 2016. His first job was at Middlesbrough between 2006 and 2009 and he was named England U21 manager in 2013.
However, after impressing in his first tournament as England manager, Shilton believes Southgate’s understated manner has been behind his success.
“He surprised me,” Shilton said. “I had my doubts about him, I’ve got to say that, just because he hadn’t had a lot of experience in management but he’s proven that you can do it the quiet way, he’s made the players believe that anything is possible.
“The Sir Alf Ramseys, the Brian Cloughs, the Sir Bobby Robsons, they had that calm demeanour which transmitted to the players and I think that although Gareth Southgate is not in that category yet, well he might be if he wins the World Cup, he’s got that quiet demeanour which comes across for the players.”