Since a winless 2014 World Cup (two defeats, one draw), a shockingly hilarious elimination in the Round of 16 of Euro 2016 by Iceland, and of course the whole Sam Allardyce episode, the England national team have been on the up and up.
Not coincidentally, that started with the appointment of former England U21 head coach and professional waistcoat enthusiast Gareth Southgate, first on an interim basis, then as the full-time boss, as well as his long-time assistant, and long-time Chelsea assistant, Steve Holland. They have revitalized an aging and butt-of-all-jokes Three Lions team, leading them to fourth at the 2018 World Cup and third in the inaugural UEFA Nations League — and, at times, even playing some quality football along the way!
That progression is partly why England’s 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic on Friday was so shocking. Not only are the Czechs a far cry from their turn of the millennium glory days, they are mired somewhere in the mid-40s of FIFA’s rankings. They have not qualified for the World Cup since 2006, and have not won a game at the Euros since 2012. The last time they played England, back in March, they were soundly dismantled to the tune of 5-0. Similar was expected; nothing of the sort followed.
England did not play well at all, and the unfortunately included young Mason Mount, who was making his first start (and collecting his third cap) for the national team. But the Chelsea youngster, as all good players, is looking to learn the harsh lessons necessary from that defeat, both on a personal level and as a team, and turning those into a positive the next time he plays.
“Yeah, it was a difficult night [but] we knew what we were going into and probably did not deal with it as well as we could have and gave them so many chances...”
“But there is a massive experience to be gained from these games, you learn so much as a team. Now Monday is coming up and we can look forward to that and try and turn this into a positive.”
“It is something you learn from. We will look back on the game and take a lot of negatives which we can improve on, but we will also take some positives [and how] we can improve on [those].”
-Mason Mount; source: Star
Whether Mount starts or even plays tonight — left, right, center, or wherever — when England take on Bulgaria (shockingly poor these days) in Sofia remains to be seen. But one thing is clear, he will always look to improve. That may be easy to say, but we’re also seeing it in action from him. It’s the perfect mentality.