Gareth Southgate insists England cannot be ‘in the negativity’ surrounding Qatar and reveals positives of shorter World Cup preparation ahead of Iran clash

England manager Gareth Southgate insists he cannot allow his side to be ’embedded in the negativity’ surrounding hosts Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

Qatar has come under ongoing scrutiny over its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and women, migrant worker deaths and the country’s ability to host the tournament.


Southgate’s men start their World Cup campaign on Monday

Players and managers were questioned about the issues and football itself became something of a sideshow.

Southgate says while the Three Lions understand the controversy, they need to find a positive prospect to thrive in Qatar ahead of their opener against Iran on Monday.

The England boss told talkSPORT: “We’re trying to get the players excited about a World Cup.

“For at least 12 months they had to answer questions on a whole range of topics which we tried to cover as best we could and educate ourselves as best we could.

“But they want to focus on representing their country in a major football tournament, that’s understandable, and I’m the same.

“So we’re trying to get them excited rather than getting sucked into the negativity around the tournament, which is totally understandable, but it’s not a mindset we can get into if we want to get excited. to be here and try to win a World Cup for our country.”

The Qatar World Cup is full of pitfalls


The Qatar World Cup is full of pitfalls

In the years since the tournament was awarded to Qatar, FIFA took the unprecedented step of staging this World Cup in winter for the very first time due to the Middle Eastern country’s unplayable heat in summer. .

The final round of Premier League fixtures ended seven days ago, giving Southgate a small window to prepare with his side, while Reece James and Ben Chilwell have suffered tournament-ending injuries during the busy schedule .

But again, Southgate is trying to focus on the positives.

He said: “I think we’re really looking forward to it. It’s different from normal for a tournament because you usually have two and a half to four weeks to prepare.

Southgate carries the hopes of a nation on its shoulders


Southgate carries the hopes of a nation on its shoulders

“But at the same time, part of that is the physical preparation, because you had a gap at the end of the season and you try to keep the players in good condition.

“You end up with friendlies that you don’t learn much from and players who protect themselves from injury.

“We tried to look at the positives of the shorter preparation.”

talkSPORT World Cup 2022 coverage

talkSPORT will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the 2022 World Cup

We will broadcast all 64 matches of the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage on our network.

You can tune into talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 via our free online streaming service at

talkSPORT is widely available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

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