World Cup 2018: England will gain fantastic experience - Martin Glenn

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Top reasons why England fans should be cheerful

Success for England at the World Cup will be seeing "bright, young stars" given the chance to gain "fantastic experience", says Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn.

Gareth Southgate's side secured their spot at Russia 2018 with a 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday.

"This team has potential but we have a hell of a lot of work to do," said the England boss after the match.

Glenn told the BBC: "We're 15th in the world - that ranking is for a reason."

Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, he added: "You've got to be realistic looking at our historical performance. But, what we all really want, and I think we can expect with Gareth with the way he's setting the team up and working on term, is that we go out there and fulfil our potential.

"The feeling has been in the last international tournaments we've undershot, and we can go to this one and make the most of what we've got."

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England, World Cup winners in 1966, have not reached the semi-finals of an international tournament since hosting the European Championships in 1996 and were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the last 16 by Iceland.

However, Harry Kane's injury-time winner against Slovenia meant they qualified for next summer's World Cup by winning their group with a game to spare. They are unbeaten in a campaign where they have also faced Scotland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Malta.

Thursday's starting XI included six players - John Stones, Eric Dier, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marcus Rashford and Kane - aged 24 or under, while substitutes Jesse Lingard and Michael Keane are both 24 and Dele Alli, who missed the match through suspension, is only 21.

"It's a young team, if you look at the average age of teams who win the World Cup," added Glenn.

"We've got a nucleus of a young and very talented team. They're still learning and qualification is a difficult thing and not all teams do it - go ask the Dutch [who are third in their group].

"On average, the teams that win World Cups have players with three or four years more experience. We recognise the team is still developing - but we've got some really good talent.

"To me, success is to continue to see the team develop and some of the bright, young stars there will get a fantastic experience which they can build for future tournaments."

Glenn's comments are more cautious than previous statements from former chairman Greg Dyke, who left the FA in 2016.

In 2013, he said: "The two targets I have for the England team are - one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022."

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live later on Friday, former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves said the current set-up needs to "find a team that can come together and get results".

He added: "Chris Coleman with Wales did that brilliantly - they definitely found a way to become a team at Euro 2016. That will be Gareth Southgate's biggest issue. Even the generation I played in - with Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard - we never found the blend to get the results.

"I like this group of young players, I think they will grow to be something, but that will not be this summer. This should be an opportunity to play together and grow together.

"This should be an audition for what comes next. And if we can find a way to get results, we can cause a few upsets."

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'Nothing to fear from England' - analysis

BBC chief football writer Phil McNulty

Southgate acknowledged the level of discontent that swept around Wembley during this abject display by his side.

Southgate accepted it was up to his England players to transform Wembley into a "cauldron" - but this was more like throwing a bucket of ice cold water over any sense of optimism surrounding their aspirations at the World Cup in Russia next summer.

Yes, England achieved the goal of qualification. Yes, England got the win they wanted thanks to Kane's goal deep into injury time.

And yes, Southgate's side sent a message out to any opponents waiting to meet them next summer. The problem is the message this game sent out was: "You have nothing to fear from England."

Southgate rightly made the point that this is a work in progress and it would be hugely unjust to saddle him with the baggage of previous failures, such as the embarrassment of an exit to Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

The immediate problem, however, is that the countdown to the 2018 World Cup starts now and England look well short of coming anywhere near sides who have ambitions of making their mark in Russia.

England's central midfield is plodding in the extreme, lacking inspiration and their defence still looks like it would be vulnerable to high-class opposition.

Southgate possesses quality in attack but the mediocrity delivered in front of a cynical and at times sarcastic Wembley gallery was a sad reflection on England's current status.

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