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Norfolk's FA chief sure Southgate's England will perform at World Cup

FA technical director Dan Ashworth is backing England to impress at the World Cup. Picture Nick Potts/PA

FA technical director Dan Ashworth is backing England to impress at the World Cup. Picture Nick Potts/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

England want to make the country proud this summer, insists the Norfolk man plotting the Three Lions’ World Cup bid.

FA technical director Dan Ashworth has overseen a major leap forward at age group levels since leaving his club role at West Brom in 2012.

England continue their build up today, in a Wembley friendly against Nigeria, and Ashworth knows success in Russia for Gareth Southgate’s unproven squad would top the lot.

“It’s a young team, it’s a vibrant team, it’s an energetic team and I think in qualification they’ve proved that we can play in a way the nation can be proud of,” said Ashworth, who was part of Norwich City’s youth set-up and also had spells at Wisbech and Diss before emerging as a key national figure. “Hopefully we’ll come back from Russia and you’ll be proud of the team. We know we have to win some football matches along the way in order to do that but we’ll be going there with every intention of making you, as a nation, proud.”

Tottenham marksman Harry Kane has been confirmed as England’s World Cup captain, and Ashworth feels he is the perfect leader for a new generation.

“Fantastic, brilliant. I am delighted for Harry, delighted for everyone at Tottenham,” said Ashworth, speaking to England’s official Youtube channel.

“I first came across him really at the Under-20 World Cup, but he’s been really good across all of our age groups and obviously consistently in the Premier League for a number of years now. He has all the attributes of a captain: he is a great leader, he is a great role model and I am sure he’ll be a great success for England.

“He is quite young in years, but not in maturity and there’s been a number of examples across the years of captains being young – Ray Wilkins was captain of Chelsea at 18. I think if people have shown the right attributes, it doesn’t matter with age and Harry certainly has all of those attributes.

“We have had a promising couple of years and the youth teams have certainly done very well. What we pledged when we came in was that our youth teams were getting to the latter stages of tournaments and all those wonderful experiences, the pressure of knock out games, winning and losing and of course lifting trophies.”

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