Betfair survey shows the goodwill and optimism around Gareth Southgate’s England will continue into the qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup reports Max Liu…
“A whopping 87% believe Southgate is the man to manage England in Qatar – and if the Three Lions fail to win, almost 80% still think he should remain manager.”
England’s impressive run to the final of Euro 2020 will see much higher interest than usual in this week’s World Cup qualifiers.
A YouGov survey of 1000 fans for Betfair revealed that 25% were more likely to watch the Three Lions’ qualifiers than in years gone by.
The majority of fans said they were looking forward to the upcoming qualifiers as England play Hungary in Budapest tomorrow, host Andorra on Sunday and face Poland in Warsaw next Wednesday.
Optimism about “best since ’66”
There is also a new optimism about the national team with two-thirds of England fans saying the current England squad is the best since 1966 – a view that’s difficult to dispute after the Three Lions reached only their second major final this summer.
England suffered penalty shootout heart-break in the final but Southgate’s young team getting so close to glory bodes well for the future.
France lost the Euro 2016 final in Paris before going on to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia and some England fans believe their team can follow the same route to victory.
More than one in five believe England will go one better than Euro 2020 by winning the World Cup next year, while the same number also say that only England winning the Jules Rimet would be a successful tournament in their eyes.
Southgate the man for Qatar
A whopping 87% believe Southgate is the man to manage England in Qatar – and if the Three Lions fail to win, almost 80% still think he should remain manager.
Steven Gerrard was the favoured answer by fans surveyed (14%) to be the next England boss, ahead of Brendan Rodgers (12%) and Pep Guardiola (11%).
Man of the moment Jack Grealish is the player most believe will be England’s best in Qatar (18%), ahead of Raheem Sterling (12%) and Harry Kane (10%) while a whopping 84% believe Grealish should start in England’s next qualifiers despite often starting from the bench during the Euros.
Of the players who didn’t make Euros, 39% want to see Mason Greenwood at the 2022 World Cup, followed by Jesse Lingard (32%) and Patrick Bamford (22%).
Despite a protracted summer of transfer speculation, 66% of England fans polled still think Harry Kane should be captain – but if not Kane, Harry Maguire is the overwhelming choice on 44%.
Tartan Army backs Clarke
An optimistic 58% of Scottish fans believe they will qualify for the World Cup – while 84% believe Steve Clarke is the right man to take Scotland forward.
A healthy 80% of Wales fans believe they will qualify for their first World Cup since 1958 – but the picture looks bleak for Northern Ireland fans with just 23% believing they will make it to Qatar.
Next year’s World Cup is sure to be an unusual one – beginning in late-November and finishing with the final one week before Christmas – and only one in five fans surveyed saying they’d travel to Qatar if they had the means.