England’s Rugby head coach Eddie Jones says that English footballers have to step out of their comfort zone if they wish to achieve international success in major tournaments.
Gareth Southgate’s men are on the brink of qualifying for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia following their 2-1 victory over Slovakia in a qualifier on Monday. Jones believes that Southgate needs to instil a change in mindset to end their run of continued failure at major international tournaments.
“In England, there’s definitely a fear of failure, definitely a fear of not doing what everyone else is doing,” said Jones speaking at the Soccerex global convention in Manchester.
“Players like to get comfortable, they like to have a nice house, drive a Range Rover, like to do the same thing every day in training. To get them to have the courage to try to be different is the biggest trick.
“Encouraging them to do that consistently, to be different, don’t be comfortable, be uncomfortable.
“I think Gareth is a very positive, professional coach and I think he’s trying to change things with England.
“You can see he’s trying to change things. I think he’s as good a chance as anyone of making that team successful because they’ve obviously got good players.”
Southgate and Jones know each other very well. The Three Lions head coach invited Jones to give a prep talk to his players ahead of their clash against Lithuania in March. Famous for his bold and uncompromising attitude, Jones claims that the England national team is a victim of ‘negative mindset’.
“I think it’s the mantras, the messaging, making sure the lads start believing it. Then you start talking about it consistently,” he continued.
“It’s interesting to me, as an Australian listening to the English talk about football, it’s almost like everyone is saying ‘We’re gonna fail, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if we qualify, we’re gonna fail, so who really cares?’
“The players hear that. Players hear that, their father and mother hears it, their girlfriend hears it and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What they’ve got to do try to break that in some way, to get some other messages out there and change it.
“I went to Los Angeles for a coaches’ conference at the weekend and one of the things I said is you’ve got to aspire to make the quarter-finals, because if you say you’re only going to win two games, you’re going to lose two games.
“You’re saying to your players ‘you’re going to lose games’. Whoever goes to a tournament preparing to lose games?
“So the way you say things is just so important to get the right mind set and the right mental attitude.”
England’s win over Slovakia means they now lead by five points at the top of Group F.