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England’s players do not “need fans to boo” them to know they have not played well, says forward Marcus Rashford.
The Three Lions sit top of Group B and remain in a strong position to reach the last 16, largely because of their 6-2 thrashing of Iran in their opener.
Friday’s lacklustre 0-0 draw against USA was greeted by loud jeers from fans at the final whistle.
“I feel like if we play well in the next game, that USA game will be forgotten,” said 25-year-old Rashford.
“It’s not a nice feeling. But to be honest we don’t need fans to boo us to know we have not played well. It was a feeling that was mutual among the group – that we could have done better.
“You do question if you would have changed things in the build-up to the game but that is natural as players because you want to win as many games as you can. When you don’t win it’s disappointing but we can’t be so negative about it. We’re in a good position in the group.
“When you win a game, you are the best team in the world. When you lose, you are the worst. That’s football. As players you have to keep a balance.”
The drab draw with the United States saw England miss the chance to wrap up qualification to the knockout stage, but Gareth Southgate’s side will go through regardless if they avoid a four-goal defeat by Wales on Tuesday.
England’s performance and the reaction of supporters evoked memories of the 2010 tournament in South Africa where they underwhelmed and Wayne Rooney was forced to apologise for remarks made following a disappointing 0-0 draw against Algeria.
Since Southgate’s appointment as manager in 2016, England have reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020, with Rashford saying that it does not take “a genius” to work out that their have been significant improvements from what went before.
“The standard of training wasn’t as high,” added Rashford. “For players, it is black and white: if you are not training well, you can’t expect to play well, you can’t expect to go into games and just win.
“There has obviously been a clear change and clear improvement. We have done much better in the major tournaments but even in the games through the year we have had better results.
“It is not often that I come away with England and feel like we will lose games. As a collective we are very strong and it is a big feature that Gareth puts emphasis on.
“I don’t think it takes a genius to see we have improved since 2016. You look at that performance against Iceland when we got knocked out of the Euros and it is a million miles from where we are now.”
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