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Rashford: Southgate has created a club-like atmosphere with England

The Three Lions are two victories away from their first piece of major silverware since winning the World Cup in 1966.

Marcus Rashford, right, believes England manager Gareth Southgate has created a club-like atmosphere with the the national team (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Marcus Rashford, right, believes England manager Gareth Southgate has created a club-like atmosphere with the the national team (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Marcus Rashford insists there will be no club loyalties blocking England’s path to potential Nations League glory this week.

The Three Lions face Holland in Guimaraes on Thursday in a semi-final clash, with either host country Portugal or Switzerland awaiting the winners in Sunday’s final.

Two victories would be enough to crown Gareth Southgate’s side as the first-ever winners of the Nations League and give England a first piece of major silverware since winning the World Cup in 1966.

Southgate’s preparations for the clash with the Dutch have been complicated by the fact both Liverpool and Tottenham reached the Champions League final.

Six of the 23 players in his squad were involved in Madrid on Saturday as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners.

Reds skipper Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez also collected winners’ medals, while Tottenham trio Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier will need to overcome the huge disappointment of falling to defeat.

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson lifts the Champions League trophy (Peter Byrne/PA)

But Rashford believes the club mentality introduced since Southgate replaced Sam Allardyce in 2016 will hold strong as the squad come together looking to make history.

“It doesn’t matter whether you play for Tottenham or Liverpool or whoever,” the Manchester United forward said.

“While we’re here that doesn’t matter at all. We’ll battle for each other. That’s what’s special about this group, because that transition to international football seems to be very smooth.

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Marcus Rashford, left, during a training session at St George’s Park (Tim Goode/PA)

“With Gareth being an ex-player he knows what it feels like going into camp. If it’s your first time and you don’t really know people it can be tough.

“He’s done everything bang-on and when we have new young players coming into the squad they just slide right in.

“He always says to us ‘When you’re in camp we want you to enjoy yourself.’ He wants it as close as it can be to how it is at a club.

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“This is the closest I’ve ever felt to being at home. Basically it’s like your club, where you’d fight for the person next to you. It’s the exact same thing here.”

England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and, while lifting the Nations League may not compare to the success of winning such an established competition, Rashford is still keen to pick up international honours.

“It is new but the big teams will start to win it and put their names in its history,” he said of the Nations League.

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Marcus Rashford is confident of England’s chances at the Nations League in Portugal (Handout/PA)

“Then the tournament will rise and rise. It could become one of the important tournaments in international football.

“We’re a young team and we know that we’ve progressed but the best way of showing it is by winning something. This is an opportunity to get to a final and win something at the end of it. That will do us a lot of good.

“Since the World Cup we’ve beaten Croatia and Spain. You can see the improvement. We’ve started challenging the big teams, which is what you want to do. If we can take that into a tournament we’ll be flying.”

:: Head & Shoulders, Official Hair Care Partner of the England Football Teams and the UK’s #1 shampoo brand, spoke to Marcus Rashford at St. George’s Park ahead of England’s game against the Netherlands

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