England must avoid complacency against Panama, says Gareth Southgate


England boss Gareth Southgate has urged his squad to 'create their own history' against Panama

Gareth Southgate says England can have no room for complacency when they face Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Three Lions are guaranteed to qualify from Group G if they beat ‘Los Canaleros’, who are currently ranked 55th in the world, on Sunday.

Panama were comfortably defeated 3-0 by Belgium in their opening game of the World Cup, but Southgate is taking nothing for granted as his side look to maintain their promising start to the campaign.

“We’ve seen already the difficulty big countries in terms of rankings have had in breaking down lower-ranked teams,” he said.

“That’s been a theme right the way throughout. There’s no way there’s any complacency in the way we’ve prepared for the game.

“The situation in the group is obviously a healthy one for us, but we’ve got to focus on our performance.

“We want to show people an England team can play in a different way. We’ve got technically good players, we want them to get on the ball and express themselves and really attack the game like we did the other night [against Tunisia].”

Southgate moved to play down the fallout from England’s ‘leaked’ team to face Panama, after photographs emerged of assistant manager Steve Holland carrying a sheet of paper with an apparent line-up written on it.

“If the opposition have your team in any sport, that is a competitive advantage,” said Southgate.

“But it is not the job of the media to protect the team. I accept that completely. The other day was a list of 23 players, people have taken something from that which probably isn’t correct.

“But that’s it for me.”