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MANAGER: It's about making history for ourselves

Paul Simpson on England's opening game

24 November 2022


MANAGER: It's about making history for ourselves

Paul Simpson on England's opening game

24 November 2022

With the World Cup now well under way, and with United involved in their own cup competition this weekend, we wondered if the manager’s past experiences of winning the U20 version of the world competition back in 2017 could have any bearing at all on how he can advise or prepare his current crop as they look to secure their place in the round three draw.

“No, not really, I think it’s completely irrelevant,” he said. “Players don’t want to keep hearing coaches harp on about what they did in the past.

“My players here want to know how Walsall will play, how we think we’re going to beat them and what we’re doing now to make sure we’re ready. They want to hear about their strengths and weaknesses.

“They don’t really care about how we beat Venezuela in 2017. It’s completely irrelevant. Those sorts of things, they’re my memories, they’re for me.

“It’s about us going and making some history for ourselves. If we can get a result on Saturday we can then wait and see what round three brings.

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“We have an opportunity to go and write some of our own history for Carlisle United.”

As for England and their comprehensive win over Iran, he commented: “It’s the perfect start.

“I don’t think Gareth would have even dreamed of scoring six in that first World Cup game. When you’re in these tournaments, you want to get a win to start off, you don’t care how you get it.

“If you lose that first game, it makes it very nervy going into the second. I think you can see with some of the results coming out, Croatia getting a draw in their first game, Argentina losing against the Saudis, shock results can come in these early stages.

“You normally find, as the tournament develops, the top teams get stronger and stronger. We started really well, some really good attacking play, but I suppose look at what Gareth said after the game – we can be better because we shouldn’t have conceded two goals.

“Hopefully it’s a little bit of a wake up, firstly in that you can’t take your eye off the ball or let your standards drop. You also can’t take VAR for granted.

“I’ve already seen some ridiculous decisions from VAR so far in this World Cup. If it had been 1-1 and that gets given, and you lose the game, all hell breaks loose.

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“Thankfully it was on the back end of us scoring six and it didn’t really count for anything. Hopefully it’s the first of many wins and we can keep moving forward.”

As for keeping in touch with the England boss, he told us: “I’ve had some text messages with him, but at no point would I ever give him advice.

“The only thing I got back from him was ‘it was a nice start’, that was all he texted me back after the game.

“I’m really pleased for him, because he’s taken some flak over the last few months. You look at his record, he’s had the most wins out of any England manager, I accept he’s played a few more games than Sir Alf Ramsey did to get his wins, but his record speaks for itself.

“He creates the right environment, the right culture, the players are very good as well, that’s the biggest part, they’re prepared to go and do the business and hopefully they carry on doing that.”

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