England ‘on track’

England are on the right path to developing a team that can win the World Cup, according to Roberto Martinez.

Despite suffering disappointment in Brazil after exiting the competition at the group stage for the first time since 1958, the Everton manager says the experience gained by promising players such as Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling will be invaluable when it comes to Russia 2018.

Speaking to www.fifa.com, Martinez said: “I was very impressed with the manner that England approached the competition.

Raheem Sterling surges forward with the ball

Raheem Sterling impressed in Brazil

“Looking back at other tournaments, it was the case of trying to progress and go through. 

“This time around, it has been a clear approach of: let’s try to be ourselves, let’s try to find solutions and learn from the experience for the future and if we progress in this tournament, great, if not we’ll get the benefits.

“There is a real legacy growing in this new England set-up. I love the eye-to-eye mentality and having a really brave outlook about their performances.”

The Three Lions lost their opening two games by a single goal, rendering their final Group D fixture against Costa Rica irrelevant.

But Martinez insisted things could have gone very differently for Hodgson’s men.

“The defeat against Uruguay was marginal,” he added.

“There is a real legacy growing in this new England set-up. I love the eye-to-eye mentality.”

Roberto Martinez 

“The game against Italy was very small margins as well, not to get the victory.

“Overall, it’s a positive approach and I think there is an understanding from the English public that there needs to be a bit of patience and a structured path to be successful, not just to be good in big tournaments, but to try to win a big tournament.

“To get there following the methods of Belgium or even Spain takes time. 

“There has been a step towards achieving that with how England allow youngsters to have a major say and develop a clear way of playing that is going to be very beneficial for the future.”