Goalkeeper Jack Butland says England's World Cup qualification campaign deserves credit but adds that they need to build on it and be better next summer
Goalkeeper Jack Butland says England are happy with having one of best defensive records in qualifying for the World Cup, but knows they have to do better in Russia.
England beat Lithuania 1-0 to end their World Cup Qualifying campaign unbeaten for the fourth major tournament in a row, dropping just four points in total on their way to next summer’s tournament in Russia.
But Butland, who replaced Joe Hart in goal for the Lithuania clash, knows the team must improve to make an impact at the 2018 finals.
The England keeper said: “I think we can be better – we know we can.
“We wanted to score more goals and sign off with a really good win but we finished off with another three points, which is 26 points in the group.
“We have one of the best defensive records in qualifying and that’s something we are proud of.
“Obviously we would have wanted the performance to be better, but on a pitch like that you are limited in the way you can play. We were pleased with the win but know we can do better.
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“There is such big expectation on us as a nation because we want to succeed and we see the talent we have week in and week out in the Premier League, so the excitement is there for a reason.
“We know what we are capable of so we understand it ourselves, we know how we can play and we know the talent we have, what we are capable of, and it’s about showing it.
“We have gone unbeaten in another qualifying campaign with one of the best defensive records and that’s with people coming in and out of the team with different formations, going to tough places and playing on tough pitches.”
Butland says England are looking forward to the World Cup and will travel to Russia expecting to get out of the group stages and then compete with the top teams in the knock-out stages.
He added: “There is an awful amount of credit the boys deserve for achieving this but we don’t leave it at that – we need to build on it, and keep growing and making sure that come the tournament next year we are firing on all cylinders.
“We have do better than we have before – we expect to get out of the group.
“We want to win some knock-out games and we really want to push it.
“Come the World Cup if we are playing well, people will be putting us up there with the top boys.”