Belfast Telegraph

Wayne Rooney misses out on hearing Southgate's England vision

By Staff Reporter

England's ambition to become the best in the world was laid out in a powerful presentation by manager Gareth Southgate, but captain Wayne Rooney was not there to hear it.

For too long the Three Lions have fallen flat at major tournaments, failing to make it out of their group at the last World Cup before bowing out to minnows Iceland at Euro 2016.

Southgate spoke of the need for English football to shed its island mentality ahead of his first matches since being given the reins, with tomorrow's friendly opponents Germany role models. Lithuania are next up on Sunday in a World Cup qualifier.

He made a presentation to his players outlining his vision for the future, with those around the squad invited to yesterday's meeting subject to club commitments.

Rooney was chief among them but remained in Manchester to undergo treatment on an injury, missing a meeting that new boy James Ward-Prowse revealed underlined England's ambitions.

"It was a very powerful message," the Southampton midfielder said, before confirming Rooney was not there. "It highlighted the highs and lows of a career and the ambitions that he sees for us.

"We want to establish ourselves as a top team. So it is all about plugging away at those goals and making sure that what we do now stands us in good stead for when we reach major tournaments.

"We want to be the best in the world. In every department - the medical side, technical and tactical, the operations and the way we work - we all want to be the best."

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