England manager Gareth Southgate is about to take his young team to Russia and begin another World Cup campaign. One piece of homework he certainly should reflect on is what happened some 52 years ago when England lifted the famous 1966 World Cup trophy.
How England Won The 1966 World Cup
The Team Had a World-Class Core
When you analyse the eleven players that delivered that ultimate victory you see a team that was greater than the sum of its parts. For many subsequent years, the England team has consistently failed to emulate that characteristic. The World Cup-winning side comprised a core of world-class players. In particular, Gordon Banks in goal, Bobby Moore in defence and Bobby Charlton in midfield. And strong characters were a feature of the team.
A Solid Work Ethic
They also displayed a work ethic exemplified by the tireless running of Alan Ball and Roger Hunt. Spice it up with the combative Nobby Stiles and the ungainly but very effective Jack Charlton. Mix in two solid full-backs plus the skills of Martin Peters. And of course the finishing of Geoff Hurst. You then had a winning combination. Coach Alf Ramsey could even afford to leave out the best goalscorer of his generation, Jimmy Greaves. His Army training no doubt helped give him the ability to make those tough decisions.
Over to Gareth Southgate
Whether Gareth Southgate can create a similar outcome seems very unlikely. Does he have a world-class core? Well, no. One element, a striker, is present in the shape of Harry Kane. And there are other potential stars, such as Dele Alli, but that is all they have at the top level – potential. Considering the past issues with keeping these Premier League superstars happy in a foreign environment leaves Southgate with another big challenge. It’s assumed that he doesn’t have an army background, but at least he does have a precedent to contemplate.