Warne on England: I'm now a believer!

By David Beddows | 07/07/2018

Warne on England: I'm now a believer!

PAUL Warne admits he's changed from a realist to a carried-away fan over England's chances at the World Cup.

Like the whole nation, the Millers boss has been bruised by countless Three Lions disappointments at major tournaments down the years and that's why he refused to get excited about their prospects in Russia.

That all changed on Tuesday night when England blasted away their penalty shootout demons to get past Colombia and reach the last eight.

With none of the globe's footballing superpowers in England's half of the draw, not to mention Brazil's exit last night, it’s a huge chance to go all the way. Expectations have suddenly shot up and speaking ahead of today's quarter-final scrap with Sweden, Warne is happy to be swept along by the feelgood vibe.

He told the Advertiser: "When England flew out there, I didn't expect them to do brilliantly if I'm honest, although the three games before the World Cup I thought they looked good.

"Having had this many years as an England fan, you don't really want to get your hopes up, which I always try to explain to my son.

"I went into it with zero expectation but in typical football fan mode I've gone crazy now.

"Now all of a sudden I've convinced myself we will never have a better chance to get to a final.

"With no disrespect to the other teams who were in the last 16, who were all good, you're not playing an Italy, you're not playing a Germany, you're not playing a Spain and you're not playing a Brazil, so on paper you have a better chance and in that respect I'm pretty hopeful."

Once his club duties at today's friendly against Parkgate are done, Warne will be settling down to watch the England game on the training ground's snazzy TV.

The only downside is that watching England brings back the nerves of being a football manager.

"The chairman kindly let us invest in this 90in touch screen at the training ground which helps with our meetings and tactical things,” says Warne. “I'll be watching the game with the staff and a few of the players who live locally.

"Because our season finished just over a month ago, I've been thinking that in future I'll be a lot calmer on the touchine because I've got used to it, I won't be as ‘heart-attacky’. But then I watched England play and all those emotions, they all came back.

Gareth Southgate, waistcoat and all, has got England buzzing.

"The best way to put is if you watch England and you're kicking every ball, it's more like being a football manager.

"I have absolute empathy for Gareth Southgate. After the penalty shootout against Colombia, I looked to see how unbelievably relieved and excited he was. I bet he didn't sleep for hours because he would have been so wired, I was so pleased for him.

"As soon as one player (Jordan Henderson), missed a penalty, I said 'oh please no.' We butcher people who miss. I thought if we are going to go out, at least let two players miss.

"The fact it turned around like it did, I didn't see it happening.

“Now, I think football may be coming home and if it is, great.”


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