It's fair to say that following the England national team has been a largely unfulfilling experience over the past 12 months, something that was encapsulated by their lacklustre performance at the European Championships over the summer.
Despite a strong showing in qualifying, England struggled to get out of second gear in France, culminating in an embarrassing round of 16 defeat to international minnows Iceland.
And in an interview with The Telegraph, defender-cum-midfielder Eric Dier has suggested that the side are still suffering with a hangover from the defeat.
Dier was still on the fringes of the squad at the tournament, but he has since established himself as a regular, and has admitted that it may take the Three Lions two years to fully recover from what could be described as their lowest point in recent history.
The 22-year-old made his senior debut against Spain this time last year, and is expected to feature again this time around, but gave a full and frank assessment of how things have been since they returned from Euro 2016.
“The Iceland game is unexplainable when you watch it. We were just terrible. It was probably the worst time of my career,” he said.
“I went away straight away the next day and just tried to forget about it as quickly as possible. I came off at half-time and I was sitting there thinking I was going to go home and it was the worst feeling and you couldn’t do anything about it.
“We scored early on and I thought we were completely in control. Then they scored straight away from the long throw and that was a massive mistake because when they scored you could see them all realising that they could score against us and it gave them massive confidence.
“The more it goes on you get more and more worried and we should have just trusted the process. We should have trusted ourselves to get it back. I think panic set in and when everyone realised it was happening by then it was too late.”
A long way to go
Despite beating the Auld Enemy, Scotland, by a convincing 3-0 scoreline on Friday night, Dier believes that a good performance in qualifying will not be enough to win the trust back from the supporters.
“It’s going to take a long time to apologise for that game [Iceland] and I think you can only look two years down the line and qualifying for the World Cup and going there and do it,” he added.
“I don’t think you can repair it in qualifiers. After the Iceland game the only way to fix the image of one tournament is by fixing it at another tournament. I think the World Cup is the time to do that.
“I don’t know if that means winning it or whatever but we will have to do well. It’s going there and leaving the right image that we have a way of playing football, we believe in that way and we gave everything playing that way. That for me is the most important thing.”
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