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Football: SVEN STOPS ENGLAND FLAGGING.

GARETH Southgate has revealed the secret of Sven Goran Eriksson's success - he doesn't wave the flag and march to the beat of the nationalistic drum.

The defender explains: "Coming from another country, he has not been so concerned about the nationalistic side of playing for England.

"Sometimes, as an England player, you have so much pride in playing for your country that you have neglected the importance of the quality of your performance.

"Sven has been a bit detached from the hype and he can say, 'look, guys, we are going to play Germany and whatever has gone in the past doesn't matter'. It has created a very relaxing atmosphere to work in.

"Everyone still has enormous pride in playing for their country but you have almost got to try and forget that. Once the national anthems have finished, you have to focus on your job."

Southgate does not, however, believe that expectations in England are too high.

He says: "A country of our pedigree should go into a major tournament with a chance of winning. We are one of the major football nations and when you look at our players, why shouldn't we be one of the contenders?"

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2002
Words:203
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